A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Lily Baumgart's profile is thrown into sharp relief against stage lights. Their hair is cropped short casts a shadow onto their cheek. They are wearing a yellow turtleneck with a wide-collared coat. A red SAL logo is behind the lectern where they're speaking.

“Dissection of a Western Kingbird,” by Lily Baumgart

Extinguish larynx, strung down neck & plucked
from voice box, pulling out a sharp snap;

I holler to the kingbird out of loneliness.

Feathered body & beak yellowed with age,
sleek wings broken in by many winters,

his dead eyes, refusing to acknowledge.

Measurements of clawed feet, the push of the scalpel
into his full breast, the initial resistance—deflated,

I leave to cry in the bathroom, ashamed.

He is ashamed, too; embarrassed by his death,
the way it brandishes our innocence &

when I return, he is untouched & alone.

Lily Baumgart is Seattle’s 2017/18 Youth Poet Laureate. Performed at Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Poetry Series event with Mary Ruefle at Broadway Performance Hall on November 21, 2019.

Posted in Student WritingPoetry SeriesWriters in the SchoolsYouth Poet Laureate2019/20 Season