[Poisoning the Birds]

Leslie Harrison

The day the starling flock tumbles twists whirls through

dusk their scissor beaks clattering like rattled bones

the day they rain down deafening and feathered as if

smoke knows knives as if blades grow voices that day

was the day he flensed his chest and neck cut every speck

into oven loaves and it hurt but in comparison not all

that much and then he fed the flock from pans his skin

and when it was gone and they rose hungry still hungry

anew with their terrible plural intent their swerve plummet 

and climb now all they wanted was to come to her to come

to her touch they wanted her to just this once choose

this tiny myriad devotion of feathered back beak and wing

they fell around her house as rain as keratin as a clatter

of wind through pinions as if all his tears had finally found 

voices as if they'd grown black and bladed and done 

with waiting