The Diner Shrieking Evil

by Nicholas Reading

                            —For Tippi Hedren

Call me evil again & I’ll slap you.
Say it could be anybody & I’ll offer soda
with a wing-bone as a straw. You & I

are as sketch as those boards crowded
over the windows. Every wig here
is dark. If you ask me again why
why do birds kill people? I’ll toast

your naiveté & swift end. Have a seat
dear. The piano bench is warm
& the keys are not like glass. You play
as these hands tear wings & feather

from these pillows. I’ll pry the beak
from our mouths. A pecking will come
at the door & we will have to answer it.

Formerly the fiction editor for Sycamore Review, Nicholas Reading is now an MFA poetry candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he works on the on-line literary journal Blackbird. His poetry is forthcoming in the New Orleans Review and Zone 3.