In this tale the children have hammered their way out of her ribcage
like woodpeckers; they are ruthless and persistent
shredding through tissue and bone until they scatter the residue
into filaments of neon.
Husbands pace back and forth smoking cigars
under narrowed eyes in the glare of the sun, their sure feet
and solid bodies planted like corn.
When the fledglings land they scream the moistness of their feathers
dry in one long bloody scream that forces each broken rib to fuse
with the terror of survival, and as if to soften her resistance
they become so beautiful, so vulnerable, she gathers them up
and settles them in the crevices of her armpits
and the cracks of her limbs, like bromeliads
in the shade of their fathers’ light.