“Megafauna,” “The bird in my voice is a song,” and “Harvest Moon is a Command”

Photo by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash


I read somewhere there’s an

orchid whose flower is shaped

like the female of a long dead

species of bee.


Big, bitter fruits that no one eats,

drop to the ground and rot—the

only food remaining for roaming

giants we’ll never meet.


In the shadows of the Joshua

tree, lie memory. A refusal to

acknowledge. We are here,

they say, and they are not,


and we don’t know what that means.

If only a shadow remembers,

who among can decipher their

silence? The darkness? Inky


tendrils coiling around bones

and memories of bones? If acrid

fruit rots on the ground without

its predator, that does


not cease making it prey. Time is

a predator, eyes in a thousand

directions, claws reaching so deep

in our throats, the first mother chokes.

The bird in my voice is a song

I went down to the river with a

haunting in my throat. Holy water

relieve these ghost—we carry the dead

in our mouths.

I was in my grave clothes, dress till

muddy from my old burial. Clawed my

way out the barren bed and heard birdsong—

a dusty kind of forgiveness.

The bird in the nest was dead, but song

still absolved my antique sorrow.

I carried that bird to the river, laid

her to rest. Song, now caught in my

throat, ripped through my voice—

a bloodied, down, prayer.

Harvest Moon is a Command

Moon—ripe for picking soon.

Need my ivory ladder once more,

satin spiderweb rope, silver-lidded

bucket, lined with stardust—the only

tools that harvest portions of moonlight

from the sweeping satin dress of black

skies. Each chip an amber pearl of light, set

in an asteroid bezel. Cold connect the

band, no one can compete with the

heat of a dying star. I’ve asked atoms

inside my body to find a way, but

they say only once, and you will never

see the final result. I wait for the

day I hold a flame without shaking,

keeping a piece of myself to myself,

even if it’s the worst part.

About the Author

Tia Cowger

Tia Cowger is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University. A poet at heart, her work has been published in Eastern's literary journal The Vehicle, Toe Good, Bloodpuddles, and Gone Lawn.

Read more work by Tia Cowger.