The Splinter by Laura Ann Reed

The Splinter

In late May she counts five of them, notices
the white tail-feathers when the birds rise
before disappearing over the fence.
As if such specificity helps bridge the distance
between what they are and what she is—
a woman with a splinter of someone remembered
lodged in her flesh. Who dreams of a large bird
lying on her kitchen floor. Head bent
at an odd angle. Dead, she hopes. For its own
sake. But no, it opens an eye, tries to move
its neck. She knows there is nothing to be done
but look on with pity while it beats a wing
against the cold, white tiles.


Laura Ann Reed, a San Francisco Bay Area native, taught modern dance and ballet at the University of California, Berkeley before working as a leadership development trainer at the San Francisco headquarters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the United States, Canada and Britain. She is the author of the chapbook, Shadows Thrown, (Sungold Editions, 2023). Laura and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest.

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