I had once built a birdhouse

Hacked away at tree bark
Broke its limbs to sever them
From the rest of its body

I shredded and peeled the skin
Beat its flesh endlessly
Finally I drove nails into it

And then the heart of the tree
Was resurrected as a birdhouse
Just to become human
— Nikhita Kokkirala
Nikhita Kokkirala is currently a computer science student who is on her way to graduating two years early. She spends her time reading as many books as she can, and geeking out about various coding languages. This is her first publication and aspires one day to have her own, published novel.
Editor’s Note: This complex image is made from rustic birdhouse made from reclaimed barn wood, a cross & tree image, and a heart & dove image—together they carry the symbolism alluded to in the poem. Congratulations to Nikhita: this being her first publication, and for giving us the honor of publishing it!