poetry by Keith J. Castillo


the sky burns
a bloody vision etched forever in time

worms find their way out of the dirt that housed them
crawl like ants toward the
broken carcass of a bird

they find their home in the rot

(red-breasted robin
how does it feel
to fall through time?)

i was a bird child,
raven wings and raven hair
fluttering from one branch to the next
as through learning to fly would save me
from feasting on the decay of my own childhood

i was a bird child
brown skinned and singing
i leapt off a tree and into your arms

& returned home,


the petunias are in bloom still
multicolored petals brushing against my skin and i
childhood nickname ringing in my mothers mouth

i no longer hear your voice
when she says it


night, an endless orchestra,
a collision of noise that echoes in us

we the haunted
we the weary
we forgotten roadside ghosts
haunting the desolate highways
of our childhood

night, the echo of past lives
of everything that has ever harmed you
night, a reminder of darkness
night, a reminder of what we’ve lost

the dawn,
a burst of color across the sky
dawn, the cusp of a new day
dawn, peach and lavender,
a new start

a reminder of what we’ve gained.

(dawn comes
as it always does)


light comes, a boy
in white, black curls
dancing with wind

a boy, brown
and smiling,

a saint in the making

light comes, a vulture,
feasting on the carcass
of lost time

light comes singing a trauma song
black mouth open &
an orchestra of the grief

light comes
a feast and we’re all laughing

light comes
shining like the sun

hope, a soaring bird.
freedom, blue wind on a winter's morning


Keith J. Castillo is a twenty-year-old poet living in Alberta, Canada. He's rather fond of tarot and nighttime. You can catch him on twitter @nonbinarybird.