Warnings & Fables | Kyla Sterling
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
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
a baby or a death.
Twelve vultures start a city,
On St. Stephen’s Day
the Wrenboys parade the streets,
a dead bird nailed to a pole.
The girls in the hotel wave
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.