“Bird” by Jennifer Jean

Jennifer Jean

BIRD

For survivors of abuse & trafficking residing at the Breaking Free safe house in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rock Wren, Godwit, Bobolink?
What are we looking at?
What’s beaked & broken
free from
a classic, iron
bell cage? With a blown out hole
opposite a latched door? No
thickened keratin could peck that well. No
claw-turned-fist
busted up that joint.
Inside, she was
key, she was cheep, she was: a flipped
bad finger. Now—this bird wings

as every bird
stepping out
of “the life.” With no credit,
no reference, & a little self-
love. What are we looking at?

A second wind. The flight
inside the creature
that is the holy, eternal
verb. Is:
who bent the metal. Is: the mother
of a lighter

bone. The kind
that Terror
cannot allow.

from Rattle #50, Winter 2015

[download audio]

__________

Jennifer Jean: “I believe poetry is a means to real healing, compassion, and change. To these ends, I’ve been teaching Free2Write poetry workshops to sex-trafficking and labor-trafficking survivors so they can tell their stories their way. I believe it is with non-traditional, often vulnerable writers that poetry’s true power can be realized. I was once very vulnerable—I lived in foster care from seven months to seven years old—during and after which I experienced my share of objectification. Poetry helped me contain, explore, and digest these traumatic incidents. My hope is that poetry can help my Free2Write students do the same. My hope is that through this writing Americans can know there’s an awful quick slide from objectification to war, bigotry, and even modern-day slavery.” (website)