and I know I am a bird because the woman in her striped hat smiles at me like I am a lone animal she has just spotted on the shore. See, folks come here to be surprised by living vessels, burning sun, Earth below them. Reaching their fingers into the wet sand and pulling up from the rich well of earth something special, something neat. I am the kind of bird that overhears the woman digging and talking about sand dollars. Something like she’s got a quart of bleach ready in her kitchen. Pretty red ribbon to tie between the slits. I am a bird because I see my fragile body in hungry hands. I am a bird who wanders the shore in silence seeing the dead as dead. I have a beak to swallow. I am a bird who is uncertain why you must be anything.

Kourtney Jones (she/her) is a poet living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She can be found typing in public spaces from a typewriter with her performance poetry project known as “The Poem Market”—where a custom made poem is created in a matter of minutes based on strangers sharing stories on any subject in exchange for any donation. Kourtney is the author of the poetry chapbook The Mug Drops (2018, Dandelion Review).