Migration

M

The starlings began to drop from the birch tree
like seeds; black bodies thudded, rolled
off our roof into the downspouts and gutters.
The tarsals scraped the shingles. Bird bones snapped
like dry cornhusks inside their soft throats.

But the starlings kept coming, littering the bark
that flaked off like ash, torturing the timber
on our plot, a giant murmuration rattling on the branches
until we buried the last ones, our yard
pocked with clay mud that smelled like snakes.

Then a voice swept through swollen grains
of goldenrod pollen, stuck to every anther,
sloped over milkweed pods that opened and spilled,
struck the flesh of river mussels in their shells
enough to fill an empty turtle carapace, a silo, the cathedral
of our skeletons hollowed of marrow.

When the Buck Moon grew its way out of sycamore,
deer antlers spread velvet light on our faces, coyotes
clawed and nosed the mounds in the yard and threw the bird bodies
up into the air, catching them in their teeth and swallowing
whole, even the dirt in which the starlings lay,

even our dreams floating like cornsilk,
even the hallowed spaces between our bones.

-Sarah McCartt-Jackson-
“Migration.” Monolith Magazine. 1.1 (2010). Print.

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