Dan Rosenberg

Teeth to Birds

We descend with bright instruments
perched in our fingertips. The heartworm
is lost, is an apple seed, bursts into root.
The notes we take. We wrap the rats
in what we’ve gleaned, and growth
with its ravenous patina slicks the remains.
The remains drop horribly into a pail.
We correct the errors with a table saw.
And now we must devolve a predator.
We take the healthy clod and render;
we gift like slapdash gods our gifts of life
as we imagine it was: stitched and bright
and bent. I supply the tooth-root.
I bear the soldering heats, and the articulated
foot, its ginger press against my glove,
I bear. And into the pried beak I seed
each tooth, rows neat as soldiers, better
than natural slop and drift. And the
foot at rest on my forearm, the birth
of claw. Our hypothesis, I breathe its name.
Inside my lung, an animal eye
goes black. It sees my mouth open:
the hunger pounds, the thrust of speech
it sees: my tongue a muscled knot.
What’s caught in breathing is caught in the eye.
A burrower inside me thrumming:
to what else am I raw? What I’ve sown
unfurls its disposition. My fingers
extend their devices. I cup my head
over a wreath of cutting edges. The specimen
cannot be smiling. The eye rises
in my throat, a garden of peristalsis.


Dan Rosenberg’s first book, The Crushing Organ, won the 2011 American Poetry Journal Book Prize, and was published by Dream Horse Press in 2012. Recent poems have appeared in Gulf CoastJellyfish, and American Letters & Commentary.  A Ph.D. student in The University of Georgia’s English and Creative Writing program, he co-edits Transom.