"Everyone Is Bones" - David Noah
The panic bird is stuck in his chest!
Crack the ribs, yells the surgeon over the ping ping
of the pressure machine.
Crack the ribs stat stat stat.
Here it comes, wings unfolding like demonic origami, beak wailing,
and the creature clambers from its cage,
spattering blood on the linoleum floor,
while sweat beads on the nurses foreheads.
Get back, screams the surgeon.
Get back, screams the bird.
I’m contagious, they shriek.
Ping ping ping.
Hemostat, bandages, blood pressure, bone splint,
abductors, forceps, I need suction, he cried.
And the shrieking mad bird
slams against the green walls
while the pressure machine, driven insane, crashes to the floor.
Stat, yells the surgeon.
Stat, yells the bird.
A nurse says ‘scalpel?’ in a quiet voice lost in the busy air
but the bird grows bigger, wingspan big as your head, big as a bed.
An intercom blares static static
meaning: love is incomprehensible.
The surgeon flips the x-ray switch
so everyone is bones,
and the skeleton bird howls
as it smacks into the stuttering fluorescent lights.
Bang goes the great nervous body against the door
The surgeon faints and the nurse staggers,
but the patient twitches a finger, and feebly rising from the table,
calls bird bird.
He drags himself across the room trailing tubes like guts
until the bird finds his chest and dives back in,
tunneling into his heart,
folding his wings like a leather skin.
The ribs click into place like teeth.
The patient opens his beak to say,
really quite calmly, it’s ok, I’m ok now,
as he steps on the surgeon
and with a familiar, satisfied caw
leaves the room to wing his deep way home.
Home, says the man.
Home, says the bird.