Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

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Self-Immolation

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
[CNN]

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