More and more birds get dropped off, most of them with wing trauma, some of them poisoned. There is one with a fish hook in its throat. The hook was attached to a filament which was attached to a branch which turned the bird into a kite. The babies are the saddest, but the support guys say they have the best prognoses.

I found the seagull dragging its bloody wing. He was walking around like a dog, innocent. He kept looking to the sky and taking a run at it. I could see in his eyes he was unrealistic about how his night would unfold. The other birds wanted no part in it—as far as they were concerned, he was a dog.

Merle is a color and merle is a bird but merle is not the color of the bird, it is a bluish or reddish gray mixed with splotches of black, the “color of the coats of some dogs.”

Above, an excerpt from the artist Karen Green’s Bough Down, to be released by Siglio Press on April 30. Some of the book’s pages hold tiny collages (remnants from a life: canceled stamps, scribbles and edits, fingerprints that look like they were captured in ash, or a detective’s powder), and some hold brief, elliptical bursts of text (a dream, a trip to the dentist, memories of a moment so painful, and so personal, that I’ve erased my attempts to describe it). Everything gathers around an absence so present the hole shapes the book: the death of Green’s husband, in 2008. To those who have lived through such a loss, this punishingly tender elegy may have totemic power, but to every reader Green’s empathy, her humor, and her observations—so clear they are nearly hallucinatory—are strong medicine.

—Andi Mudd

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