The Panic Bird
just flew inside my chest. Some
days it lights inside my brain,
but today it's in my bonehouse,
rattling ribs like a birdcage.
If I saw it coming, I'd fend it
off with machete or baseball bat.
Or grab its scrawny hackled neck,
wring it like a wet dishrag.
But it approaches from behind.
Too late I sense it at my back --
carrion, garbage, excrement.
Once inside me it preens, roosts,
vulture on a public utility pole.
Next it flaps, it cries, it glares,
it rages, it struts, it thrusts
its clacking beak into my liver,
my guts, my heart, rips off strips.
I fill with black blood, black bile.
This may last minutes or days.
Then it lifts sickle-shaped wings,
rises, is gone, leaving a residue --
foul breath, droppings, molted midnight
feathers. And life continues.
And then I'm prey to panic again.
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Comments about this poem (The Panic Bird by Robert Phillips )
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
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