Black Birds

Black Birds

By Jennifer Stein

Black birds the size I dream dinosaurs would be
Cloud-cutting straight flying unflapping arms
Like if you asked a kid to draw a bird
Who never saw a bird, and threw his bulky crayoned visions to the clouds
and here they are in soundless flight.
Black birds, black and ominous as octopus ink made blacker still
By the coral colored brushstroke sky at sundown
This is the way it happens, of course it is, because man’s nature is reactionary
And our worlds are often governed by boys whose diplomacy
is playing chicken on the jungle gym while teachers scream “Timeout, Don”
but they are beyond policing, now.
In the air space above a country I live in are laws
That say no birds but ours can soar here–
should never crowd the sky
But here they are, with the flash they said they’d bring.
No trumpets trump-trump-eting, no angels heralding, no hero’s good-bye
Only mute fury, flash-bang, I didn’t even have a chance
to close my eyes


Jennifer Stein is an aspiring writer, which means right now it’s a hobby she’s trying to accelerate into a habit. She’s lived in a major swing state for the past four presidential elections and after this last one, she is happy to add her voice to the resistance.

Photo credit: Jon Bunting via a Creative Commons license.

By | 2017-09-26T15:47:49+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Categories: Issue 42: 28 Sep 2017|Tags: , |1 Comment

One Comment

  1. oceansandfire 2017-10-01 at 11:46 am

    Writing a subtle political poem is not easy. In Black Birds, Jennifer Stein’s verse is not only intelligent in its spare elliptical language and imagery, but it is powerful to an important purpose, elegant in its restraint, and ultimately beautifully moving in its totality. What an utter pleasure to read and reread such exciting work.

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