Size / / /

    She found the eggshell in the convent garden.

    Broken clean in half, its hollowness

    was smooth and dry as sand.

    No membrane for the nourishment

    of embryonic flight:

    Only a thin white dust.

On winter nights when it was darkest

they came to me, hungry, wet

feathers with multitudinous voices.

Please was their song and the echo,

picking along the curve of my ear,

fluttering my pages with distraction.

Please. But what they needed or hungered for,

they never said.

Rilke named them best—almost deadly

birds of the soul—but what he missed,

lost in translation or on the hot Trieste wind,

was that their razor feathers were matted

with hunger, their beauty

the pale thin beauty of tubercular saints.

Their voices were blood coughed out on whiteness.

Please. Perched on my shoulder in the dark

like a sourceless anxiety, they moaned,

and shaking the feathers from my hair,

I scattered breadcrumbs.

Megan Arkenberg is a student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she has been writing for a little over five years. Her work has appeared in or been accepted for issues of Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Fantasy Magazine, and many others. She edits the online magazines Mirror Dance and Lacuna. To contact her, send her email at For more about her and her work, see her website.
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