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Self-Portrait with Bluebird by Mikey Swanberg

-for franklin k.r. cline

the snow shut the woods up for once

& now everything is wet

my boots & socks

my cute little gloves

all afternoon the birds

tap their beaks at the window

because they can see me munching david’s low sodium sunflower seeds

& checking my blood pressure

off & on & off beyond the pines

bent like drunks in the snow

the newly discovered dump

sits waiting for me & mom

to go sifting for something good

trash pickers

of this trashed land

hunting for anything that glints

when held to the sun

but now it’s Sunday

& I’m bummed

& franklin called & gassed me up

we say our woods our swampy fields

on Monacan land

a dozen miles from where Jefferson

dug up a bunch of graves

to plant grapes

& got called the father

of modern archeology

what do you say to shit like that

shaking the last of a hint of


tostitos bag into your mouth

& drinking the worse tasting



*naturally flavored

with other natural flavors*

which doesn’t mean anything

but when googled

means there is at least a little

bit of tree sap in this bad boy

& my own sap comes in

while looking through the hidden

album in my phone

& feeling like narcissus

staring into the koi pond

in an Austin Power’s wig


do I make me horny, baby?

again & again until the fish

break the surface

with their hunger

mistaking my shadow

for one who’s come

to feed them


Mikey Swanberg is the author of On Earth As It Is (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2021), Good Grief (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019), Zen and the Art of Bicycle Delivery (Rabbit Catastrophe Press). He holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin - Madison & lives in Chicago.

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