After Icarus

by Lois Levinson

We hadn’t thought to worry
about the birds,
consumed as we were
with the threat
of sickness and death.
Each breath laced with dread,
we doomscrolled
and calculated our odds.

Last spring the birds returned,
found us secluded
under a shroud of anxiety.
They heard our silence
and raised their voices
to fill the void with song.

Late summer, despair
compounded by wildfires
devouring our mountain forests,
the air vile with smoke,
we hardly noticed
as flocks of birds
fell dead from the sky–
by the thousands.

They’d fled the infernos,
only to be trapped aloft
in the lethal grip of icy storms.
Their wind-wracked bodies
starved to feather and bone,
they plummeted to the ground,
where they lay side by side
along the rivers and roads
and in the fields,
in ghastly pantomime
of all the lives we’ve lost.

Lois Levinson is the author of Before It All Vanishes, and a chapbook, Crane Dance, both published by Finishing Line Press.  Her poems have appeared in Canary Journal, Global PoemicGyroscopeThe Carolina Quarterly, The MacGuffin, Cloudbank and otherjournals. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she’s gotten through the past year by writing poetry and watching birds. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

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