she tells you to stuff a live parakeet in your mouth
that it isn't really a parakeet
that when you feel the head
rub the roof of your dry mouth
that it will become water or wine or whatever you believe it will be
& you believe this because you have survived so many deaths
your poor wings a cautionary tale for a microscopic revolutionary
when the water wine whatever parakeet
slithers down your throat
you are compelled to want to compost yourself
suck your own bones & spit them out in your hair
Previously published in Poetry Northwest.
Anastacia-Renee is the current Civic Poet of Seattle, recipient of the 2017 Artist of the Year Award, and former 2015-2017 Poet-in-Residence at Hugo House. She is the author of five books: Forget It (Black Radish Books), (v.), (Gramma Press) 26, (Dancing Girl Press), Kiss Me Doll Face (Gramma Press) and Answer(Me) (Winged City Chapbooks, Argus Press) and has received writing fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust and Jack Straw, as well as a writing residency from Ragdale. Her theatrical mixed-media project, 9 Ounces: A One Woman Show, is a multivalent play unapologetically downward dogging its way through class, race, culture, oppression, depression, survival and epiphany. Her cross-genre writing has appeared in the anthologies: Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, Sinister Wisdom: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution, Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks and literary magazines in and print and online: Split this Rock, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Seattle Review, Bone Bouquet, Duende, Synaethesia, Banqueted, Torch and many more. She teaches poetry and creative writing at Hugo House and Seattle University and lives as a superhero in Seattle with her wife and dog.