Haley L. Johannesen

the birds from yesterday
the ones living in the skull
                                                beaks up, fuzz all over their spring bodies,
are gone
                they must have learned how to fly

how does a thing like that happen
how does one, learn to fly                   and then, simply do

i hope they are happy
i hope the start of their spring lives lasts
                                                                  as long as it is supposed to

maybe they will come back
maybe, but not today

they are back
one long night, i looked it up
                                i asked my dad
                                he said, barn swallows are all i know, but
and he was right
spring bodies, back in the nest, back to their mother
                                                                                  keeping             them
how jealous,
in my own spring body
in my own night lasting

About the Author

Haley L. Johannesen is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she studied poetry. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa with her husband and two cats. She is a high school English teacher and an avid reader. Her favorite book of 2021 is Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder.