but the bird doesn’t know it. The bird is thirty birds who soared
out of dreaming to invent sky, thirty birds flying in the formation

of a bird. God tells them, Open, O moon-beak O silver-black O sliver
of luck, and the bird says, Break me until I’m whole. God says, Empty,  

and the bird spills a splendor of jewels from their thirty beaks into
the valley. Don’t think I’m a diamond, God says, Find me, and hands

the bird a map back to the inside of its own bone, then disappears.
But the bird doesn’t understand the quest(ion). Thirty birds split

into a thousand that search under everything—stone, fabric,
sun-face, gold—until they find no God. Now the beak yells, Take  

me; I have no reason, and an arch of wing lifts sun-up towards light,
and a thump under the chest answers, Yes and yes and yes and yes.

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MELISSA STUDDARD is the author of five books, including the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the poetry chapbook Like a Bird with a Thousand Wings. Her work has been featured by PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and has also appeared in periodicals such as POETRY, Kenyon Review, Psychology Today, New Ohio Review, Harvard Review, Missouri Review, and New England Review. A short film of the title poem from Studdard's I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast (by Dan Sickles of Moxie Pictures for Motionpoems) was an official selection for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, as well as winner of the REEL Poetry Festival Audience Choice Award. Her work has also won or placed in The Penn Review Poetry Prize, the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize, the Tom Howard Prize, The Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize, the Forward National Literature Award, and more.

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