Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016



in Environment by

On a Friday in Philadelphia
1,400 songbirds stormed the windows
and dropped—

skyscraper casualties,
folded and clipped,
a passing broom for requiem

Workers cradled the still warm—
a shock of tender glistened
against the dark forgetful of a city—

bagged them, labeled them
tiny epithets of unmet destinations
West Indies    Costa Rica    Belize

That hollow bones hitting glass
can break the sound barrier
I have already learned

or that it takes a rain of feather down
to calm a morning of its sick
and break the borough of her fever

We’ve known too long this soft neglect—
compassion must be multiplied by mass
to fledge a movement capable of reach

What more devotion than this—

a bonfire of wings to consummate sky
to plume an altar, to sear our reticence
with an infinite flight



Jessica Michael‘s work has appeared or is upcoming in The Comstock Review, Into the Void, Allegro, LIGHT, One by Jacar Press, Rebelle Society and others.

Photograph by Osman Rana.


Up to 1,500 birds may have flown into Philadelphia skyscrapers — in a single day

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