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Hot Tin Roof: In the house of birds


Hot Tin Roof
Hot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in Iowa City. The series is organized and juried by representatives of three Iowa City-based cultural advocacy organizations: The Englert Theatre, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature and Little Village magazine.
By Jen Rouse

walls quiver.
Her fingers
flutter at her ruby
throat. And every room
has a pedestaled bath,
where delicate finches
dip tiny beaks, while
hawks hang like bats
from birch chandeliers.
Why am I here, she wonders
again. Her hollow womb,
her spindly ankles? Oh,
yes, of course,
her head. “Hummingbird,”
they said, when she told
them she craved nectar
and couldn’t sit still.
“Sanctuary,” they said
when she stopped sleeping
and plucked the feathers
from her crown.

Not all birds sing
here.
Some spend all day
constructing meticulous
nests. Others plumping
elaborate plumage.
“Multiple
personalities,” hummed
the pigeon, as he hopped
upon her bed.
“Rest,”
she whispered,
but her legs
never
touched
down.

Jen Rouse works as a consulting librarian at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, MadHat Lit and Trapeze. Her play, Honey Song, recently found a home in the Underground New Play Festival at Theatre Cedar Rapids.


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