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Birds of Tokyo

Nicole Steinberg

Never saw the birds before they died, your hands
stroking them to calm, the point of
your pen a harbinger of science,
dismissal. Work is work: you divvy up
what remains, coax specimens into cages,
fold wings into walls. Without you, sex is panicked,
furious rush hour throngs, all business-
man beaks and claws. Your secretary calls
the ryokan, alarmed, interrupts the sizzle
of steak on the grill. You tie the blue knot of your robe; you say
Don't call here again until the babies die.

Nicole Steinberg

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