about the author

Jari Thymian’s poetry has appeared in Margie Review, Flutter, Puffin Circus, Foundling Review, Spillway, Broadsided Press, Memoir (and), Melusine, Pedestal Magazine, and Alehouse. Her poetry was selected for Kent State’s three-year traveling art/poetry exhibit called Peace Speaks. She has a chapbook, The Meaning of Barns, from Finishing Line Press. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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Cinnamon Thief

Jari Thymian

Her skin the color of curled bark. She carries an unwritten
olfactory map to a secret grove. She, chosen for her near-death
return and heightened sense of smell, abides in a monastery
perched on the side of a mountain, away from the stench of large
populations and pollutions. In a faraway land, she will climb like
a mountain sheep up to the nest of the cinnamon bird. The lair,
twigged with a lining of pungent quills. She must offer her arm
to the male firebird who will feed it to the chicks like live prey until
the weight of birds grows enough to cause the nest to fall. The thief
retrieves an armful of quills. A tourniquet of scarab beetles from her
pocket stops the bleeding at her bicep. Next, she must open her mouth
like a hungry chick to allow the bird to take her tongue so no part
of the route is repeated to anyone. Part of her journey home.
The female bird grabs her torso, flies over the river canyon
and drops the bandit into deep blue-green water. On shore, a camel
or elephant waits to be loaded with quills, ride the spice trade route
through high desert for months, all so a rich man can watch his wife
eat her breakfast toast with cinnamon in hopes the aphrodisiac
will turn her toward him. Instead, she looks with longing at mountain
peaks on the other side of the stone wall, imagines a silent freefall.
Like breasts secreting milk, her arm aches with phantom bleeding.

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