The Boiler

Jennifer Whitaker

THROAT-SONG

In his dying he was a bird with a jewel
caught in his throat, struggling and soundless.
Alighting on the bedpost, he cocked his head
at the pinched smell of eggs dyeing
somewhere in their small tins.
His razor beak clicked open-close,
open-close, the choke dumbing him,
panicked feathers falling
to the unmade earth below.

Listen to me, little throat-bird:
those are your stunted eggs,
rank and shocked garish with color.
Listen to me: I am that stone.

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Jennifer Whitaker‘s first book, The Blue Hour, won the 2015 Brittingham Prize in Poetry and is forthcoming from The University of Wisconsin Press. She has published poems in journals including the New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Four Way Review, and Radar Poetry. Jennifer currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she teaches writing and is director of the University Writing Center at UNCG.