MORE THAN 1,000 DEAD BIRDS FALL FROM THE SKY IN ARKANSAS
Leah Browning


It sounds like a scene
from a horror movie.

The sounds of
screaming, running—

of small feathered bodies
hitting parked cars

and the neighbors’
newly shingled roof.

There should be smoke
rising in the air,

a burnt smell, the persistent
sound of sirens.

No one knows why this happened
though there are theories.

It seems like a warning, a sign,
some kind of foreshadowing.

But it is difficult to piece
these things together,

even for the scientists,
and the fear and helplessness

can’t change anything.
Sometimes it is necessary

for each person to give and then
have faith in people and nature

because although the birds
are real, this is, too:

Outside it is January,
but here inside the house

the cat is warm and drowsy
in the sun, and there is

a fresh cup of coffee
and the crisp sound

of the newspaper pages
as they turn toward each other

and so many other small signs
and portents.



Leah Browning is the author of two chapbooks and three nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens. In addition to writing, Browning edits the Apple Valley Review, rereads David Sedaris essays, and spends way too much time washing dishes. You can find her personal website here.