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Clade Song 5

Tiny, Tiny


Before you I did not try to locate their high-pitched song. Air bent as they defended nests or asked another to fill them. The slim black parentheses of their bodies graced unknown branches.


You raise your head to them, hold up your hand and make the sign you've created for something tiny, the thumb and forefinger pinching and releasing as if to encase the minute in fleshy claw. Your eyebrows question the clouds.


I didn’t plant the fig tree in the garden. I didn’t plant the crocosmia. I didn’t remove the butterfly bush though it was invader, bully. Yet here they are, in the front yard, ideal real estate for a lucky pair. Slender feet grip the fig branch trapeze, breezes sway them toward their flower feast. You pause to stare while their wings beat faster than your heart. Your throat, their throats, pulse.


What was your first word? Cheese? Perhaps an older tongue of gathering twig, seeking nectar, a worm’s reveal, coming rain, expected cold. Perhaps you know something before this crude language, something dirt-flecked and feather-stroked, something held softly by little more than sky.

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Claudia F. Savage has been published most recently in The Denver Quarterly, CutBank, Iron Horse Review, Buddhist Poetry Review, Nimrod, Cordella, and Bookslut. She teaches at The Attic in Portland, OR and is part of the experimental poetry/music duo, Thick in the Throat Honeyas well as co-founder of the label THrum Recordings. Find her at  



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