Plot Synopsis

There was a bird that feasted on your dreams and another
that subsisted on the lies you told and every afternoon
these birds would fight for the entertainment of most
of the guys we went to high school with. Now you might think
such bloodsport would be hidden in warehouse basements
but it was held right in the lot behind the gas station
that Rodney’s dad owned. With the leaves down, you could see
the fights even out a few bedroom windows from a nearby
subdivision. You could hear the screeching even over
the drone of the highway. I didn’t go often, it was distasteful
stuff but sometimes. I missed Rodney. And the having of a gaggle
of guys known as The Guys. I was always rooting for the lies bird,
I don’t know why. Dreams get all the attention. I did not
want you to be a liar but you were so it was nice to see
the strength they imbued in someone. The birds didn’t bleed
like regular birds, which was good for my stomach. Nothing
about them was regular—the way they spat lace
and floated in the air without moving wings. I could not be
sure if we were lying or dreaming. No one could.

Robert Wood Lynn’s debut poetry collection Mothman Apologia (Yale University Press, 2022) was selected by Rae Armantrout for the 2021 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. His work has been featured in Antioch ReviewBlackbirdNew Ohio ReviewMichigan Quarterly Review, and other publications. He is an MFA student at New York University where he teaches in the undergraduate creative-writing program. He lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia.