Poetry: City of Birds

by: Bobby Crowley

I walk through this city of birds.
Birds with feathers as black as starless galaxies that glow turquoise and emerald in the sun.
But they blot out the sun,
because its beams bounce off of their empty onyx eyes.
Eyes that divulge no spark of the soul
…I fear there is none.
They spread their massive wings out to full span,
manifesting their splendor by damming each ray one by one.
They soar past windows and limbs, peering down on me from above.
They flutter around my head, blotting out my vision.
I blindly pass through flocks of them, their wings slapping my cheeks.
They form inky waves on the ground below, consuming every inch of pavement.
Waves that peck, peck at my toes and ankle bones.
I shake my leg at them and they scatter momentarily.

I lope through this city of birds.
Their desolate eyes monitor me.
They titter together in their own shadows.
I am not entirely certain that they know I am watching them.
I am not entirely certain that they care.
When I search for compassion… or pity… I see nothing.
They seem only to care for themselves…
sometimes each other…
but I am not a bird…
I am not one of them.
I hasten to escape from their view.
They lose sight of me easily.
I am invisible for a moment.
I am unseen and, though I expected relief, I am uneasy.
This loneliness which suffocates me, as I pass through the city of birds unnoticed, feels dreadful
until it’s gone…
then I long for it to return.
For when I come back into view, it is under their indifferent gaze that I feel more dreadfully alone than ever.

I dash through this city of birds.
Wall after wall of wing, claw, and beak.
They cut into my flesh as I rush past them.
I do not feel it.
I no longer feel anything except my desperate need to be rid of this unnerving place of empty skyscraper windows and empty sable eyes…
each one more apathetic than the last.

I escape the City of Birds…
one padding footfall after the next
and soon I am no longer scraping my calloused feet on the hard gravel grounds of that city…
I am no longer caged in by the towering steeples of stone and sweat…
and feathers.
My heel cuts into something new… something soft
and I spasm under the heavy relief,
for the closest thing to soft in that place were the jagged wings that sliced open every inch of my flesh they could reach.
I have entered a new world…
without the apathy of the birds or the bladed wings or the massive and merciless gravestones…
I have entered a world of certain uncertainty.
My joy is steady…
calmed by the premonition of this new world.

Every city has monsters.

Bobby Crowley is a Queer woman with a love for all that is fabulous. She is currently working on her Creative Writing degree at Loyola University where she is also on the board of Advocate and a writer for the alt. magazine LUChameleon. She is in love with Andrea Gibson, her labradaniel puppies, and singing loudly in the shower.

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