Genevieve DeGuzman

Canary Song
by Genevieve DeGuzman

Mama takes a breath
for the doctor’s stethoscope
pressing against her chest,
a cold kiss moonshot
point blank range. “Gentle now,”
the doctor urges and somewhere
between the breastbone
and shoulder blade
a boom. “Good tune today?”
she asks, as if her body were a radio
dial being swiveled in search of
a station, for a new song
in the ebb and flow of blood,
pump of organs secreting
melodies for ailing bodies.
Discordant throb, and I think about
those gongs for miners
trapped low and deep in the earth.
Only the survivors
can swing the hammer
hard for those waiting above
because sound travels faster than
truth. When the doctor answers,
I listen for the clang. For
the beating of drums. For
a canary song cannonade. For
the loudest of blows.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.

Genevieve DeGuzmanGenevieve DeGuzman was born in the Philippines and raised in Southern California. Her work appears in FOLIO, Ithaca Lit, Liminality, Reed Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Switchback, among other journals. She has been a winner of the Oregon Poetry Association New Poets Contest, a finalist for the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize, and a literary arts resident at Can Serrat. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

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