The Ghosts of Birds

The Ghosts of Birds

First published in Phantom Drift 2: Valuable Estrangements

Currently short-listed for a 2013 Aurora Award for Best Poem. Vote here.


The ghosts of birds are difficult to banish:
they know no religion, answer no priest
and are so close to their living selves
they are hard to identify.


Passing noiselessly through backlit windows
thumpless whole bodies
snowball heavy
that never break on impact.


The ghosts of birds are thickest in autumn
when blood-red kites sit light
on telephone wires that never
sag beneath their weight.


They howl and shriek at midnight:
no change in pitch for the dead.
The dead and the living mate easily.
It does not matter if they cannot touch.


All birds are dead:
dinosaur poltergeists,
flashing from earth to heaven
but lingering in the open space.


They are their own echoes:
of noise,
of life,
the shadow passing overhead.