House of Birds

By: David Freeman

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: House of Birds first ran in issue 18 with the omission of the final line. It is presented in its entirety.

When I count my ribs, I count the ways in which I am hungry

This is how I keep track of what’s gone

for food, for money, for weapons

If the woman who attacked me is married, is the name she attacked me with missing

for clothes. for access to incendiary devices
for ways to fight back when I’m young

If my brother attacks my mother fifteen years ago, is my mother still safe in her home

for the one God removed to make others
for the others that one God removed

Kiss me like this was a good year, like I didn’t spend two months in bed

for immunity, for books on survival
for a ceiling, a theatre, a space

I must believe that birds have hurt me. Why else would I eat them so often

for the warmth, for spellbooks, for heating
for a bedroom, for a lock on the door

There are not enough laws in the courthouse to make the statute of limitations worth law

for riots, for housing, for fucking

I get drunk every time I visit my home. How else would I sleep in the room where it happened

for payment for labor, for trouble

for more of the body than I’ll ever get back

David Freeman is a poet and playwright from Long Lake MN. His poetry has previously appeared, or is forthcoming, from The Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, The Indianapolis Review, The Massachusetts Review, and others. He currently lives in Chicago, IL. More information can be found at