Chella Courington


She finds a dead hawk   body’s still warm 
drops him in her brown backpack 

like a winged warrior   raises her arms  
to migrate with the untethered

and takes off 
to preserve the remains

careful as a shaman 
she washes him bone by bone

douses quills in alcohol
stores his down in a cedar box

invokes his spirit to stay seven days
until the body is at rest 


Taking It Home

Early June the drive 
from Fort Stockton to El Paso 
is pitch-black. 

Lightning illuminates 
skull clouds 
hidden like family relics. 

Eighty years of believing 
he’s a chosen son, my father 
forgets crawling up stairs that creak

pissing in curtained corners. 
Forgets days he deserted my mother  
slapped me hard for mouthing off.

My brother forgives him. 
I don’t even pretend. 
Mother is dead but not my grief. 

I carry it like a newborn 
back to him
to joggle his memory 

unlock his heart 
to blues
that never fade.


Snake Skin   

There are nine
diaphanous coils 
hanging near  
my grandmother’s black 
walnut bed— 
one for each child born 
before she was thirty.
When the door opens
they tap on the wall. 


Chella Courington is a writer and teacher. She’s the author of three poetry chapbooks and three flash fiction chapbooks. Her poetry and stories appear in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, Nano Fiction, The Los Angeles Review and The Collagist. Her recent novella, The Somewhat Sad Tale of the Pitcher and the Crow, was published by Pink.Girl.Ink in 2015. Reared in the Appalachian South, she now lives in Santa Barbara, California.


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