My Red-Bellied Woodpecker                                                 by Kayla McCollough

She lives in my dorsal cavity, flitting
between vertebrae and brain. In humid
air, her strong wings beat past blood
and bone and thoughts. She packs

my brain wrinkles with small treasures:
glossy photos and her favorite colors, 
emerald and honey yellow. Sometimes
she perches on the spongy walls and sings

a small guttural song, kwirr kwirr churr—
her favorite—but when she’s lonely,
a throaty, crying cough, cha cha cha.
She feeds on termite words, sad

berries, and hard nutshells, jams them
into any crook and crack crack cracks them
back into manageable pieces. 

Kayla McCollough graduated from PSU in May 2020 with an MA in English. She often writes introspective poems that explore emotions and the daily struggles with anxiety. Sometimes these poems turn into songs. In her spare time, Kayla cares for plants and creates macrame and embroidery projects. When it’s warm, she’s outside soaking up the sun and enjoying birds or other creatures. 

Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.


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