Benjamin Stillerman

Aviculturist

It is no fault of your own,

the sister species’ near-perfect

mimicry of your temporary

shelter. A shift and dispersal

of adoption and the total

you are reduced to.

° ° °

do not name me

what was issued

by neglect

do not mention

the abandonment

attending my

hungry arrival

speak instead

of escaping

predation

and the sky

I will make

of survival

Extant

Stray hatch, though

not an obviously

predacious posture,

still your extinction

risk when I warmed

you and witness

when I fell below

a density of kin and

became targeted,

not knowing where

to end my clutch

or begin my species.

No, you are not kin,

arresting to me like

an attraction to light,

like the slowgrowth

you’ve stalled

and gathered for

my staying drive.

I fly only

because I am what’s left.

Benjamin Stillerman is an editor and co-founder of the collage journal ctrl + v, a 2019 UnionDocs fellow, and a PhD candidate at New York University. He co-produced the short film “The Mole” for the Visible Poetry Project. His poetry has appeared in Virga Magazine and is forthcoming in Salamander Magazine. He lives in Queens.

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