Vagrant blackbirds mangle the air with curses, 
Damn us. Travelers vulgar as rusty hinges 
Screech their hard-wrenched grammar, and jagged verses 
Tear through to wake me. 

"Hinges?" My last dream finds the word while failing, 
Supplies image fitted to sound: a doorway 
Creaking open, nothing beyond but wailing, 
Talons like axes. 

Blackbirds hinging north when the weather follows 
Bring an iron air back to the cooling houses-- 
Winter storms whet hatchets in southern hollows. 
"Nature will eat you," 

Raucous birds mock down, "and to hell with pity!" 
But I rush out, shaking my fist, and after 
Mayhem my mood hinges--a shudder now, and 
Hours later, laughter.


Poem, Copyright 2001, James Owens Tristram' Grackles 
Image Copyright 2001 by Reva Sharon

James Owens is a student in the MFA program at the University of Alabama. His poems have been published in Birmingham Poetry Review and online at The BlueFifth Review and Adirondack Review. He is the editor of The Sow's Ear Poetry Review

Migration is written in classical Sapphic stanzas, which are 4 lines of specified meter (three the same, the last different).

Reva Sharon won First Prize for Digital Photography in the Nagler International Photography Competition. 
Exhibitions include Into the land of the Seeing, at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, Magnes Museum, Berkeley, California, Royal Photographic Society, Bath England; American Cultural Center, Jerusalem.  Tristram's Grackles was previously published in Here on the Face of the Earth (Keter Press, 2001)
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