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Issue 1

Five Thousand Blackbirds

 · Poetry

Say what you will about science and
the deadly firmament
that is the New Year’s sky.

Say the birds hit power lines.
Fireworks, with magnanimous
splatter, jarred them

from their cedar roost. But I
have seen a cat’s mouth
ajar with blackbird

and that same blackbird
pry open the unwilling
jaw, skyrocket towards

the roving moon.
Blackbirds wouldn’t die
from hitting power lines.

Ignored by augurs,
they demand attention
for the world’s injuries.

It’s a graceful way
to go, though, their fiery
shoulders sagging

in snowy puddles.
And also beautiful, the way
the drum fish scattered on

the Arkansas River’s
shore. I bet people
who walked there

on January 1st sighed
and their stomachs heaved
with distaste.

But the lovers who hurt
with a fresh pang
stayed on the shore,

enchanted with something
they could not reach.
They recognized the sense 

of falling from the sky,
the fear of scientists who,
after love breaks you,

will blame only the fireworks.

After the death of blackbirds and drum fish in Beebe, Arkansas, on 1/1/11.

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