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by Kathryn Kulpa


Something that peers out from shade and vine. A small bird that flits, too quick to see. A rustle of leaves. She was nested once but now she’s testing her wings.


All you girls transformed into birds. Tongueless, weaving tapestries of woe. All you girls with wings, swallowing your sorrow. Turning your tears into birdsong.

Can you hear a girl’s voice?


A woman’s body is a mutable thing. A fence a stag can leap in a heartbeat.

Give her bark and leaves, let her root. Give her tooth and claw. Let her rend and rage.

Give her feathers, let her fly.

Fling her into the heavens, let her shine. Let her burn so bright she won’t regret losing the skin she wore when she walked on the earth, the legs that carried her everywhere but couldn’t carry her away.

Kathryn Kulpa is the author of Girls on Film (Paper Nautilus), a winner of the Vella Chapbook Contest, and Pleasant Drugs (Mid-List Press), a short story collection. She is an editor at Cleaver Magazine, and her work is published or forthcoming in Jellyfish ReviewNew Flash Fiction ReviewLost Balloon, and Pithead Chapel. She has been a visiting writer at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and an instructor at the Writespace Writefest Conference in Houston, Texas. She leads a veterans writing group in Barrington, Rhode Island.