Girl Bird Ready

Girl Bird Ready
Jessica Barksdale

I called myself Wingspan Full,
me up there on the top

of the playhouse, ready to fly,
just as I had in my dream,

running up the neighbor’s garage
roof and then taking off, whoosh,

my dog Pippin at my side.
No one stopped us except

morning. On summer days after
swim team, after shopping

with my mother, I’d go outside,
push through the dried grass

and climb to the flat spine
of the playhouse, arms

spread. I could see only what
I wanted to, the house, the yard,

the hills to the west. I wasn’t anything
but my body, and my body

was whole and mine and sun-kissed,
the light on my hair, in my eyes,

nothing but joy to breathe in.
My arms were wings, soft and brown,

and I spread them wide,
letting my whole span fill the space,

my feathers riffling in the slight breeze.
I was nothing but beautiful, one smart, whole,

perfect girl bird ready to take flight. In
the walnut trees, jays and sparrows, waiting.

Jessica Barksdale is the author of the recently released poetry collection, “Grim Honey.” She lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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