by Sarah Shields

A gang of misfit birds
outside my window
draws the hummingbirds near─
Paradise must miss them.

California, houses pecked into its bellyfat:
the place that ate my cat.
Coyotes trotted off with her
soft sack of bones.

Lotus of linen, now,
she’s wrapped burrito-tight,
buried under river stones
I piled next to the house.

Birds-of-paradise are dark cut-outs
pasted on twilight.
I climb to the mission cross: lit up
and stabbed into the furthest hillside.

I’m taking it for her.
The origami plant-birds can switchblade me
if they want, but I’ll bury the cross halfway
in bodiless stones.

About the Author:

Sarah E. Shields is an alumna of Colorado State University where she earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Spider and Underneath the Juniper Tree magazines for children, and literary magazines Commonthought and Cheap Pop. Sarah studied Cecchetti ballet for eleven years and performed with her company across Colorado and parts of the U.S. at children’s hospitals and schools, assisted living facilities, and battered women and children’s shelters. She has also appeared on a televised game show, winning a trip to Paris. She did not see the Eiffel Tower lit up, however, and wishes to return. Sarah lives in Southern California with her husband and two young children. You can find her on Twitter: @saraheshields.