the birdwatcher's wife
& other fairytales for wicked girls



March me, blue-feathered and nectar-drunk towards the edge of the sky. Cast a net on a willow tree, arrest me from flight, watch me turn into a comet as I fall through the clouds.

You say you rescued me, and I believe you, I believe you. But sometimes a memory unearths itself from my femur and I remember the taste of air and rainy seasons.

Feed me, birdwatcher feed me. Fill me up with nectar, with strange language and honey that tastes of foreign things, summer things, of things in the dark that bite just as hard, just as deep.


Weep, birdwatcher weep but let me go. Let me go before the breaking, before my feathers molt, before the tongue turns on itself, half-starved and bluing.

Love me but set me free. Set me free before I turn caterpillar, before I turn silk-worm, before hibernation quakes through my bones and the metamorphosis eviscerates everything that I am, everything that I have ever been.

Listen, birdwatcher, listen to the hymn of the hummingbird’s wingbeat against all that yellow sky, listen to the heartbeat before torpor sets in, before the cicada wakes from winters grip.



SHOMPOLE is an author & writer of many collections of poetry. She is also an artist and photographer who sometimes shows her works in galleries and other fancy places.

The Birdwatcher's Wife & Other Fairytales for Wicked Girls was first published in Rust+Moth: Journal of Poetry and the Arts in 2017. The poem was also featured in Lace Bone Beast poetry collection by N.L. Shompole published in 2017. 


Instagram: @nlshompole