The Cassowary

Yu luck/Noun Project

Iowa Bird of Mouth is a yearlong, online crowdsourced poetry project created by Jennifer L. Knox honoring a different Iowa bird each month. October’s bird is the Ring-Necked Pheasant. (You can add to this month’s open source poem here!) At Ames Public Library’s kick-off ceremony for the site, several writers shared bird-related poems. Here’s one of them.

The cassowary is shy. The cassowary
only fights when provoked.
The cassowary is exhausted
from all the rumors. Her neighbors
nicknamed her Clickbait.
All she wants to do is relax
at home, scarfing down fruit,
but there is always some Steve Erwin
wannabe hiding in her bushes.
The cassowary can kill you, sources
say. The cassowary is smart.
She knows there are many ways
to die.

Meg Johnson is the author of the poetry collection Inappropriate Sleepover. She started dancing at a young age and worked professionally in the performing arts for many years. She is the editor of Dressing Room Poetry Journal and received her MFA in creative writing from the Northeast Ohio MFA program. Her nonfiction has appeared in publications including BUST and Ms. Magazine.