O underneath. O tawdry
sky at dusk, pink and orange fluorescent, loud
rasp of cicadas in the maples—O feeling
in my gut that ousts contentment.
Earlier the air felt gentle, generous
as Saturday. The morning
air was an institute
of migration: O blackbirds with your lost
feathers pegged in the grass beneath
your roosting trees, branches spackled with seeds and shit,
all day you stream southeast, squabbling
like tourists bound for some boon,
some comedy or glory. O evening sky,
flat as violet fondant, I’m terrified
of what I love. Of what I don’t. Of my life
abridged. When I see a thousand dark
bellies of birds, it’s like something
to nerve to, a harm that takes me somewhere
free from harm until night comes, chanting
its blood song, pummeled by wings,
trailing me in its curled yellow claws.
Amy McCann lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches creative writing at Northwestern College. She has an MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University, and her work has appeared in various journals, including Image, Third Coast, Puerto del Sol, and New Letters.