ONE POEM — Renwick Berchild

Edvard Munch, Woman’s Head against the Shore, 1899 courtesy of Art Institute Chicago

A Barrage of Morn Birds

How many birds are in this wood?
I am a maze of swinging doors.
Catch me, I’ll fall. Feel my ink.
Lost in the torn pelt of my wounds,
I’ve dabbled in sores and spirits.
Meet it. The gate. Up there the hill
copper and bleeding down.
There, a long love, speaking.
On a town’s head a raven pulls
at a string of light, rawks heartily.
I don’t know the causes of sleeping.
So often the old woman of my bed
sits upright and fingers my hair.
Too many, that’s the number.
I’ve failed once again to find rest.
The mind, like illness. Follow
cold’s thicket to the deepest
eye of the woods. Lay there
in your shambles, lay there in your
open coat. The night’ll lick you.
The night, a mother cat with cub.
The night a cobblestone road
wending by the crippled shoulders
of us unloved women, cupping dawn
like poison in the new bloom.

Renwick Berchild is half literary critic, half poet. She writes at Nothing in Particular Book Review, and her poems have appeared in Headline Press, Whimperbang, ISACOUSTICS, Spillwords, Vita Brevis, The Stray Branch, The Machinery India, Lunaris Review, Streetcake Mag, and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. She was born and raised on the angry shores of Lake Superior, and now lives in a micro-apartment in Seattle, WA. Find more of her work at

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