40 Days

i’ve been asking the crows to peck at my cheeks,
pull all the worms from the soil beneath,
but as they scuttle around on reptilian feet
their claws catch
in my pores.
fat stores
freeze into hard, abrasive dry ice sheets.

a vulture likes to hold my lips in her beak,
her saliva burns like rotting meat;
as she peels back
the onion skin cracks
char in blistering heat.
she understands
the scars like
dark rings in my eyes.
stands so her wings mask her size
and her feather tips tickle my nostrils
which fill
with mucus
then blood,
which dries.

it’s still forty days until she flies away from here.
when the last bird leaves i’ll whisper:
thank you Sylvia.

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