Brooklyn Birds - Nicole Rivera

In his jungle of grown lilies snakes and bamboos

spirals dragonblood incense, thumps

like steady knocking live maracas and bongos

by Buena Vista, guajiros in his living room,

a parlour, ‘Caribbeanesque’, only to ease

an elderly winter.


Sundays too he wakes up early

skin warm from rolling between sleep and sex

in front of a desperate sun. She wants to stay


listen to the wind’s hiss through cracks

in the sliding window door, the chink of fourteen

silver bangles hanging from his wrist, the thistle of his beard

swiping against her right cheek.

Her fingers trace silver on his beard as if to shade him

in with her favorite colors.


Her eyes wipe clean all traces of him--- that formal kind of union

like blotches of ink that merge together

into a larger (indistinguishable) blob, no point

of individuality, no features of their own. God,


they emerge together with the Brooklyn birds, who

peck at hardened grits on the balcony table,

trying to lasso Spring in with their latest songs.

Their brown bodies cement beneath the coarse stitching

of Mexican blankets, stiff as a cocoon that’ll split down

the center when new life inside is prepared.

Nicole Rivera is Queer New York native, born and raised on the Lower East Side. Birthed into a multicultural family with indigenous roots, Nicole has struggled to find spaces for people of color, specifically mestizxs, where she feels a sense of belonging. Most of her writing grapples with identity and relational dynamics. She studied Creative Writing in Hunter College before moving onto obtain her Master's in Secondary Education. She now teaches ELA in the public school system, spreading her love for writing to any young person she encounters. Work of hers has been published in an issue of Infection House, Coffin Bell Journal, and Unfinished Magazine.

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