Nocturne (Optical Phenomenon) by Colleen Coyne


Afterwards, I looked it up. Those icy stars
are pecked pearls, numbered. A story with six sides,
twenty-two degrees: a haloed moon means
bad weather coming through noisy, lit-up nights.
Mid-sleep, a surge of birdsong. It’s impossible
to discern individual wings. Our thin limbal rings,
compared to the sparrowhawk’s sclera, are sadly lacking.
Black branches perch in the east, winding together
and parting like bobby pins in a pink scalp.
Our tongues split precisely along beak-slits.
I thought our home was hedge-proof. Spring
is for trimming, for gathering storm-washed shoots.
Never trust anyone, or anything,
that sings about the moon.




Colleen Coyne is the author of the chapbook Girls Mistaken for Ghosts (dancing girl press, 2015), and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cream City Review, Handsome, alice blue, So to Speak, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere. She lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches writing and works as a freelance writer and editor.