i woke up & it felt like spring

by Caelan Ernest

The birds, their hum. It’s           inevitable.  
I thought maybe it       was                                 rain,  
the strange music, the solitary disco,  
but nothing seems to be dancing.                                   It is  
far too early                                              to be dancing.  

Time warp, I thworp                                              within it.  
Wet, flapping at                         the                                             mouth,
and the last thing I need is more  
water.                                                           My tongue has become
a safe-haven for the plovers—  
each bud a sprite with                cooling salt  
the swans like to dip                                                                    their wings into.  

Shed                    gray-feather,                             darling,  
call                      everything your swan song  
from the bird bath        to the feeder and pretend           you  
were never the ugly                                                                         duckling
dancing                                                                   alone.


Caelan Ernest is a nonbinary poet, performer, and thingamajig living in Brooklyn, NY. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in WUSSY MagazineHayden’s Ferry ReviewBAEST JournalWe Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2020), The Poetry Project’s House Party, The Felt, and more. They hold an MFA in Writing from Pratt Institute. They are Director of Publicity at Nightboat Books. Hit them up on social media: @transputation.