The First Punch I Ever Throw Is at Age 10: or Ode to My Pigeon


I go to the roof and fly my birds. 

It takes my mind off the world, 

people bullying me ’cause I’m fat and I wear glasses. 

I tell somebody where I keep my birds, which you never do. 

You keep it quiet. 

They come to steal them. 

Mommy, Mommy, they’re taking my birds!

“You want it back, Mikey?” 

Gimme my bird back. 

Rips its head off, hits me with it. 

I hit him more than he hits me. 

I win.


Deborah Flanagan’s chapbook, Or, Gone, was the winner of Tupelo Press’s Snowbound Series Chapbook Award, and AGNI recently nominated her work for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in journals including The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Pleiades, FIELD, The Southern Review, and J Journal among others. Deborah lives in New York City.

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