Prayer: Syrinx

Cassandra J. Bruner
I’ve had enough of gods         of dipping lips
to pondwater & receiving soundless ripples
in response         Let this psalm call to my body
instead         How she stiffened in his arms
Became phloem & marrow then phloem
again         A field salting itself before being
plucked fallow     How     pinned beneath
him         she witnessed the hoopoe stalk
a pair of nightingales         The hawk lance
voles on its talons         The thrush shake
seeds from its feathers                
                                My body     my
thorned membrane         is there a story where
he         not us         tapers & snaps into a new
shape         Where we leave him         an uprooted
reed             to shrivel on the sun-parched bank

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Cassandra J. Bruner, the 2019-2020 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow, earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University. A transfeminine poet and essayist, their writing has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Muzzle, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, The Wishbone Dress (Bull City Press, 2020), won the 2019 Frost Place Competition. She will be attending UW-Milwaukee soon in pursuit of her PhD in English-Creative Writing.


Middlebury, Vermont

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