by John L. Stanizzi

The crows, it seems, have lost their minds today,
revealing nothing of the drama in the branches,
in the world concealed behind the yellowing leaves,
except the screeching, focused, shrill crescendos

of domination, torment, or a panic
as profound as our own fears, and then
you are reminded of the place you live,
and though you're deeply saddened or indifferent,

the truth about the darkened cities persists,
as does the truth about the fallow outskirts:
the layered shadows between the broken buildings
veil an anger simmering in the dark

where guns are drawn and knives are pulled or words
are shouted in desperation, or perhaps
they are the shrieking words that rule the streets.
And there in the darkness, time and time again,

children are born into the smoldering night.
And there are children in some other places
miles and miles away from city streets... saw them in the paper yesterday

strewn across a dusty patch of desert,
the beautiful arc of arms and legs and heads,
the faces gazing into nothingness,
and the colors they wore -- the yellows, the reds, the blues --

the colors that children wear when they're at play....

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