Flamboozled in the Beak

by Jamie Grefe

I've split buzzards to sing: bloated tissue, psychic cells quiver neon. Nothing solid to botch the epidemic. The current is blubbery. In the end, Feng doesn't realize what electric wires do. They power the city, cake membrane repellent, a haze of clamorous buzz. A buzzard's brain, frozen open, land-locked and ready to pummel, is the world's tramp. They shot me. Ode to my struck neck: a beak squawks, volts and rubber splotches. I need a new hitch to sink this crumb: the android, the microbe, the pentagram halo. Feng's pocket glows when I stroke mashed tongue, lick air. Weathervanes go funny. Not much to tell. I'll give it a whirl. I was looking for an inn to get a cup of calf soup before jacking ribs at the mutton joint. Feng calls, running numbers on an engine zone out in the valley. As if anyone would be caught alone, unarmed in the sludge-tangles of fallen power lines, ropes leaking cybernetic serpents. They've got the whole place fenced off. I sit down with my cup when, blam, old shimmering child, glamorous really, silent as a circus rocket, she comes poofing up to me and jabs an injection right here under my lobe. It's a mind-blitz. See it twitch. Spider dots on the skin. She grips my thumb, all husky whispers and candy breath howling about the impending frost, the fields of stranded dog-cattle and the bog under the city. And every bell in my engine is clucking: reach in boot for the scalpel. Calf blood soaks my crotch limp. She's vanished, gone without even a swarm or a groan. I go dim and gurgle. Just like that. Shimmer and all. Little vandal stuck me. I hold myself, the slippery wood, from falling flat, jittery on the stool, bumps clawing at my neck, until I buzz, ears muffled, sprout talons, feathers vine from lips. Right out the beak, those maggots, the caw drilling up in a frenzy of hot brain-drip. I ooze like an anemone or a leech. And, that membrane, the one pressed in the slides, it's mine, see, sure enough seems to be mine, little swimmer going home. You didn't know bird tissue pulsed white. I'll let them scrape a little more off the lobe and we'll flush this data down a splat-portal. How does that sound? Just don't let them strap me up there to burn. I've got a tremendous fear of baking and those towers really set you to popping. If you want to hear my Polly talk, feed me cabbage and watch me giggle all the way till the shimmering end.