Hollow, like a tunnel-boned bird,
the cello is held securely by its neck
while one hand twists the tuning peg,
evoking a shrill, sharp sound.
From the farmhouse
an ill-fated rooster calls out,
ruffling its feathers bathed in dust
and inflicted with sickness.
The cellist envisions red, unblinking eyes,
the curling of armored toes,
the tangled tongue
swiveling in a limp throat,
saturated with red and rosin—
and plucks the snapped string
while it is still warm.
Tessa Livingstone is a twenty-two-year-old poet living in Portland, Oregon. She engages the transformative and macabre in her poems, drawing from the works of existentialists Franz Kafka and Miley Cyrus. Tessa has an illustrated, tri-annual poetry zine coming out in 2016 entitled Visions in the Walls.
Read more of Tessa Livingstone’s featured poetry in Portland Review‘s Winter 2016 issue.