Ryan Van Winkle



We dreamed and a bird flew
into our bedroom window

like a heavy book
dropped in the dark

part of a library. Not a crack
appeared in your eyes but this

lingers in me like that dream
when we were in bed and you

spoke with Her mouth
at my shivering dick saying,

“I love you, I know what you love.”
Even dreaming I knew this was wrong

but my dick is a simple machine, a straw.
Her mouth was hot as blood

and as you slept she cut me open, smiled
and swallowed so hard I had to pull

your gold hair apart and kiss your cheeks
as if I’d never loved another, as if I knew

you would die. So now I can’t fall
back to sleep and wake you up

the slow way in which I’d fix you a bath.
We go outside, the grass is damp and gets caught

between our toes and we find this bird,
his neck broken by clear,

sunlit sky – more like a fish
than a bird. His wings folded

behind his back in prayer. His body below
a window hard as waking, hard as earth.
RYAN VAN WINKLE is a poet, performer, podcaster and critic living in Edinburgh. His first collection, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, was published by Salt in 2010 and his poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Daily and Prairie Schooner. He is a regular contributor to the Prairie Schooner blog and was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012. He is also the host and co-producer of the arts podcast The Multi-Coloured Culture Laser and the poetry podcast for the Scottish Poetry Library. Find his website here

Read more by Ryan Van Winkle:

Poem at Poetry Daily
3 poems at 3am magazine
Poem in The Istanbul Review