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Wednesday, May 17, 2017


by Preston Martin

Photos of birds that died Wednesday, May 3, after crashing into a high-rise building in Galveston. Animal Control Officer Josh Henderson said a total of 398 birds crashed into the building, and three —Houston Chronicle, May 5, 2017

In Auden’s low dishonest decade
History displayed a taste for tyrants.
Recent voters share that taste.
Some pray this retreat a wrinkle,
global sense will, with a start, awake.

New reality weighs our days,
our troubled nights; we grow stooped.
We appeal to our turning minds
see the long view, humanity is wise,
yearns for truth, fraternity. As if
wishing could make true.

Yesterday four hundred birds
lost their birdy instincts, reason—
blinded in reflection of a Galveston high rise—
flew full and headlong to greet their deaths.

Speculation by bird authorities:
glare mistaken for the sun, or moon light,
something, that seemed right at the time—
led them, without reason, to their demise.

Warblers, redstarts, ovenbirds,
bluebirds, cuckoos, sparrows, kestrels,
blackbirds, redwings, robins, cardinals,

Preston Martin has published poems in literary journals including New Ohio Review, Iodine, Chaffin Journal, Kakalak, won awards or recognition by the North and South Carolina Poetry Societies and the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival. He has also published in anthologies including Every River on Earth: Writings from Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press), and  Heron Clan III. He reads, writes, and teaches in Chapel Hill and Durham, NC, and chairs the Brockman-Campbell book competition for the North Carolina Poetry Society.