Frenzy of fear likely dropped 3,000 birds.
– AP, 1/4/11
On the day the blackbirds fell from the sky, some spun
like pinwheels, others flew blind into the sides of tall buildings.
One struck a woman out walking her dog, which barked
incessantly and tried to retrieve the winged carcass as she lay there.
Convoys swerved to avoid feathered lumps littering the road
and small red-winged missiles pummeled hoods and windshields.
No, these are not the demanding crows,
feathers slicked and strutting all shiny. These
black birds are smaller, delicate,
pinned with red flags like medals on their wings,
greeting morning in phosphorus-like flashes. At dusk,
they’re tiny drones swooping in for twilight soirees at the roost.
The blackbirds were struck by lightening
or stressed by the midnight explosions of revelers.
Ringing a new year, the people became oblivious
to how much this looks like the old year,
not even seeing the winged ones striking ground,
then staggering drunk to their deaths, become collateral.
At first, the people thought Hitchcock’s “The Birds” had come,
or the End Times, and they shunned the bodies piling up,
running home to embrace and huddle with loved ones.
The redwings, startled, in a frenzy of fear, flew, they say,
despite poor eyesight, disoriented in dark, their trembling
breasts bursting amid pyrotechnics or the blunt force trauma of thunder.
A few unfortunates crashed beak-first into ground,
not so dignified in death, not photographed, acknowledged
or embraced; far more than four and twenty baked
in an American pie, these delicate casualties
shoved, warm, into the corner of time’s cupboard
become a contented fiction.