I must warn you

By Aleah Sato


There’s a yellow bird over there.

When you squint your eyes, the bird
will turn into a woman
the kind of woman who straps
knives to calves.

She’s not an archangel

      (tell yourself whatever you need to).

She’ll disappear

when skin meets skin.
The clock face grows pale.

Time has evaporated. The thin

line between right and misery
has also faded.

You drink in my desire
for her, that ruby-throated

kind of poison.
You unlock the chambers of white 

noise      a magic trick.

This night is the swirling
Van Gogh dream. This night
is born to us
in the half-step. 

There’s a door over there, cracked
slightly.      Shut it. 

          Stop this bird from singing.


ALEAH SATO grew up in southern Indiana and has a wicked collection of gospel songs in her memory bank. The author of Badlands and Stillborn Wilderness (Pooka Press), her work has appeared in BlazeVox, Shadowtrain, Blue Fifth Review, Just West of Athens, Eclectica, The Argotist, and Nthposition, among others, and many anthologies.

Her collaboration, "Extinct," with photographer Elizabeth Siegfried was exhibited at G+ Galleries in Toronto in 2007, the changing woman year, and is now in book format.

Aleah resides in the desert, where most mornings she can be found on her porch, watching bird acrobatics and listening to the hum of Interstate 10. She has vowed to write less, witness more.

4 responses to “I must warn you”

  1. The ending of this poem truly haunts me every time I read it. Beautiful work, Aleah. L & L.

    • Aleah says:

      Thanks, Rich. My composer friend actually set this to an electronic composition w. him reading the poem aloud … I should hunt the mp3 down. As to the ending, yes, I am reminded that the song is not always meant to be …

  2. Birds into women? Who doesn’t like a poem like that? Dig it…

    • Aleah says:

      Women into birds… men into goats… the menagerie of fun never ends. I am the queen of anthropomorphism. lol. Thanks!

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