Ryan Patrick Smith

                Hear the starlings, reader in your dark-red car. The starlings hear the dwindle. They hear the service station’s blue pumps rasp,

                the grease trucks filling up behind a neighboring diner, see every sign raised high on its pole. Read them this way.

                They sing to one another in the tree that overhangs the world’s flat roofs, adjust

                their feathers like a bevy of hatchets. Read them

                this way. The starlings smell famine nearby & trouble coming the way someone tracking through woods smells rot in the dark

                & know there is a time to eat and time for exile, that nothing works here but blood & the radio. Murmuration. They unfurl against a low sky into an open script. Read them this way. Know it is time for you, the sky in dusk

                & sign-starred, wondrous. Get out, lock your doors. Get scissors & net, climb a ladder & haul starlings from the wind. Split their caustic chests. Track where the steam drifts in the light.


Read another poem by Ryan Patrick Smith by purchasing a print or digital copy of the May/June 2017 issue here.

Back to top ↑

Sign up for Our Email Newsletter