Stormcloud

sasinfrank Issue: Section:

stormcloud of starlings
erupts by the roadside
inscrutable logic directs
the pitch
and the weave
turns the burgeoning curve
to a funnel
snaps the corners
of this bird-pixel blanket
the edges pop
just before the comfortable
settling

from the safety
of their corn stubble field
do the starlings
look at the constant
cascade of creatures
coursing over
the veins between fields
and ponder the algorithm
that governs such
curious movements?
do some ask why
the bigger ones
move in packs at night
or
why sometimes the weaker
ones seem to lose
their thrust
and limp away from the parade,
coming to an ignoble
rest outside the lines?
and, yeah, why so linear?
on account of
their tiny brains?

i am migrating south
driving your car
down I-65

the whole family
is descending
on my sister’s house
for thanksgiving dinner

you have cocooned
yourself in a ragged quilt
the weight of your
noggin against my arm
testifies that you
have succumbed
to a deep sleep

in the back seat
my boy has
cocooned himself
in the rugged world
of nintendo dsi

occasionally
something not unlike
dread
tightens my chest

what makes me think
i am qualified
to haul such
precious cargo?

we will arrive
we will hold hands
and pray our thanks
we will eat
and talk about
the food we are
eating

and when my mother
mocks my son
in front of the assembled brood
scoffing at him
simply for being
a singularly beautiful and
odd bird
i will wonder
why
i lifted from our nest
this morning
why i did all this
turning and wheeling
to follow the funnel
to this place

beats me

but my grandma ruth
is here
now on the couch
in her neck brace

she lost the man who
had been her constant
companion since
the age of fifteen
this year

you are leaning
over the arm
next to ruth
talking quietly

your hands
sway like swans
upon water

ruth's fingers
expel a shower of sparrows
from a bush

pigeons ripple from
a phone line

swallows dart through
the dusk

your hands flutter
low
like some ground-based fowl
pheasant or grouse
maybe
ruth's hands
rise like two doves
in response
and peel apart
near her chin
to circle back
solo
to her lap

i don't know
what's being said
exactly

but for the moment
at least
it's all making sense

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