top of page
Untitled design_edited_edited.jpg

to my brother, a distant generation—

—Noralee Zwick

to my brother, a distant generation—

the quail under our house has rotted. when

                  you bang on the living room floor and scream

to wake up our parents i can see its carcass

                  lying on its side, beautiful brown feathers eaten

by ants. when i check, heart in my throat, it’s only our dog

                  trapped under the floorboards. tomorrow i will laugh

at him, silly creature, ran under the house at three in the morning:

                  of course he found himself trapped by the darkness. tomorrow

you will glare at me, world in your hands, brushing off the dust

                  on his eyes: don’t be like that, he was scared. i cannot spare

sympathy for him, accident as it may be, because he broke

                  through the side of the porch and ended up trapped, and my

3am nighttime is spurred by birds. i sleep upon

                  the flies i’ve killed, the songbird perpetually soaring

into my window. i tried to save it, really i did, but my hands were clumsy

                  over its broken wings, the shoebox lined with tissue paper,

the barest rise and fall of its chest. it stained my room dove

                  dark, dyed wings the shade of a crushed strawberry. you are young

still, and you do not know birds bleed same as us. i was two

                  the first time i cried for a dead thing, and at eleven you cry

for the living. but i am older by three years. i have lived your folktales.

                  i know all too well the creatures you never learned how to save.


NORALEE ZWICK is a student and poet based in the Bay Area, California. They are a California Arts Scholar and the founder of Quill and Ink, an elementary-age program designed to teach students the basics of creative writing. In their free time, Noralee enjoys teaching ballet and art, drinking tea, and making an unholy amount of Spotify playlists.

bottom of page