The Cuckoo

by Jane Jun
Issue: Elysium (Spring 2012)

Entreating beaks and glossy fat
an infant bird cries with eyes of glass
reflecting the frigidity of love, deflecting

Repulsive, this red-eyed parasite
abandoned at birth to another’s nest
each caterpillar and lizard stuffed into its mouth
echoing the blood-price of shattered shells;
shoved to death by she who chose her dreams over love,
who had left her baby with certitude, looking only to
the Moon, beckoned by the illusive light of crescent beauty but—
only black-crisp feathers coiled down the liquid-silver sky.

Adoring flutters caress the baby beast
paternal wings fetch each morsel,
flushed with the joy of blossoming young.
but the infant:
in each gobbling of love there is a pain,
a burn, a bruise, a slice—
a flabby worm and dripping fat
that cuts the heart and steels the eyes