by Zoe Raven

Some of us have a vulture
in our psychology. Razor-winged,
it makes a tender cage
of the skull. Its music
is a scream of inquiry.
It puts a claw through any kiss.

It makes little chicks of us;
feather-tailed showgirls.
The sequinned shame of morning
is where it feeds.

Change, for me, is a fluorescent-lit
theory; but I have heard that
some have a songbird.

©Zoe Raven, 2022

This poem was longlisted as part of the Spectrum: Poetry Celebrating Identity project. Click here to find out more about the project, and other poems on the longlist here.


The concept of identity – be it class, gender, sexuality, national, institutional, or anything else we define ourselves by – has gone through radical change over the past half-century, and the idea of definition by binary oppositions is no longer as relevant as it once was.

Spectrum is a poetry anthology that seeks to amplify marginalised voices, and to celebrate the great diversity and rich variation in the identities of people from around the world and from a huge cross-section of walks of life.

Click here for the anthology of shortlisted poems.