Flushed out in the pre-dawn darkness,
whirling birds are blinded by torchlight
as the air glows gold, filled with frantic fire.
Unnested, frenzied wings rise in unison
in the upsurge to escape.
Beating the wind, singed feathers
fan the flames,
feed the suffocating fire,
and some fall stunned – breathless birds
captured in the muck and struggle.
The dance is frozen, caught
in the moment's movement.
This poem was written in response to the surprise ekphrastic challenge on birds.
Betsy Mars is a poet, educator, mother, animal lover, and travel fanatic who lives in the Los Angeles area. She finds her adrenaline rush in taking new and strange substitute teaching jobs as often as her psyche allows, while trying to maintain the balance she needs to write. Her work has appeared in the California Quarterly, Illya's Honey, and the Rise Up Review, among others.
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