Warnings & Fables | Kyla Sterling

$ 7.00

Kyla Sterling earned her MFA in poetry at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly, Adroit Journal, Parcel, Radar Poetry, Blackbird, Barrow Street Journal, and Notre Dame Review, among others. She was the recipient American Academy of Poets’ Noel Callow Poetry Award and The Greensboro Review’s Amon Liner Poetry Award.  Originally from Hilton, New York, she currently lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband and their one-eyed cat.  


What the Birds Predicted


Fifty jackdaws found dead

on a street in Sweden.

          No one knows the reason.

The last day

of the old year—explosions

 in the air.

There was a shortage of seed, a shortage

of wine.  It was

poor timing,

sooty birds lined the sidewalk,

limp as lost gloves.

Some see it as a reckoning:

          punish the sparrow

but protect his home.  Divide the sky

accordingly, a dusty book of auguries—

the crossed wings of a chimney swift

signal something,

a baby                  or a death.

Twelve vultures start a city,

a civilization.  

On St. Stephen’s Day

the Wrenboys parade the streets,

a dead bird nailed to a pole.

          The girls in the hotel wave

 red cloths. 

Redwing blackbirds are dying in droves.

          There are fireworks

in Arkansas.  The first night of the new year.

          Fresh snow dotted black and red. 

It is both lucky and a warning.