The Bird Eaters | Rebecca Valley

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Rebecca Valley is a poet and editor from Saint Albans, Vermont. Her work has been published in Pontoon, Rattle, Black Warrior Review, and other journals. She is the associate poetry editor at FairyTale Review and the editor-in-chief of Drizzle Review, a book review site with a focus on under-represented authors and books in translation. She most recently worked a middle school librarian on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington,where she has lived for the last five years. You can find her online at



We Ate the Birds


This morning

the cat left a body on the porch. 

It was a yellow songbird,

the size and shape of a fist.


The cat wasn't hungry.

I understand. This morning

I dipped my pinky finger into a cup of hot tea

just past the fingernail so

I could feel the heat from all angles.


Lately, the cat and I share matte black pupils.

We hunch over the body

of the bird, plucking feathers to reveal

a sheet of transparent skin and


delicate, hollow bones. 

Though neither of us have an appetite,

the cat and I make a meal of his body.

We leave behind only keratin:


beak, two feet, 

a bundle of saffron feathers.