When your brothers are birds your bones break
that’s what we’ve learned;
that’s what we’ve learned.
You’d expect them to go after the soft parts,
eyes and tongue, mainly.
You might have to spend
a hundred years asleep, or eating dust,
or living in a bachelor apartment and brushing
your hair, if your hair is the kind that
brushes, that takes 100 strokes.
When your brothers are birds you ask yourself,
owl or egg,
raven or riddle;
it doesn’t matter; you should go ahead and pack
a basket; all brothers need a good lunch after a long journey.
That’s what we’ve learned.
You may have to sail for a thousand nights
over stormy water;
you may turn out to be
an only child.
The Arctic terns fly
from pole to pole
and rarely come to land.
Dawn Macdonald lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, where she was raised off the grid. She holds a degree in applied mathematics from the University of Western Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Canadian Literature, filling Station, Literary Review of Canada, and Rattle.