Dream of the Bird Tattoo
Juan J. MoralesPoetry / Number 98
After the medium told me a strange bird would visit me, I obsessed over every sparrow and finch in our yard, including one that would sit outside the kitchen window, head tilted in curiosity. The yellow prairie warbler chased moths around the neighbor’s red maple. I counted Mississippi kites whistling and circling high above, green hummingbirds flitting through to nourish on our succulents, and crows always dog fighting with the hawks. Every bird reminded me of avian populations in decline, but they ignored my need for personal prophecy. A few nights later, when I closed my eyes, my deceased father stood before me with his face obscured. His shoulder tattoo of la golondrina stirred. Then, the swallow climbed off his shoulder as a green phoenix made of neon light. It shook its wings and told me, “This is the bird you are looking for,” before flying out of dream and waking me, just like sunrise.
Juan J. Morales is the son of an Ecuadorian mother and Puerto Rican father. He is the author of three poetry collections, including The Handyman’s Guide to End Times, winner of the 2019 International Latino Book Award. Recent poems have appeared in Acentos Review, Copper Nickel, The Laurel Review, Breakbeats Vol. 4 LatiNEXT, Dear America, Pank, Verse Daily, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. He is a CantoMundo Fellow, a Macondo Fellow, the Editor/Publisher of Pilgrimage Press, and Professor and Department Chair of English & World Languages at Colorado State University-Pueblo.A silhouette of a bird on a branch with grass in the background by Embla Munk Rynkebjerg