On Becoming a Changeling

by Ellora Sutton

The forsythia, like all stars, is dying
its impermanent death. Gold, bronze,
gone. I yank my old hair from the brush,
leave it in parcels on the doorstep
for the birds – magpie, robin, song thrush.
The pheasants make their road accident sounds,
twisted metal out their mouths. I am still
and heavy so long the mud welcomes me home,
my feet enter the squelch as though fleshless.
Mosquitos throb me bejeweled, jet and ruby,
standing on the bank. The stream is a wild girl
at a music festival, scabbed with body glitter.
She knows all the words to all the songs,
I am trying to learn.                   I am so still
mice forget me or mistake me for a birch.
They have hands like I have hands.
They might be water rats. I might be
water rats. I’m feeling plural like that,
the sun sucking my elbows, sunning me wide.
I fumble across a field. My body is a field.
I breathe deep enough to turn myself inside out.
At the edge, the forest sways its seductive, tipsy sway.
I show her my colony of mosses, my amulets
of nettle-rash stuck close to my bones like blood-
wet grass as we trade ghazals of mulch and birdsong.
The cut-out dolls of green light between branches dance,
take my hands, my eyes. I return home, bitten.