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Three starlings rested
outside my window
late yesterday afternoon
on the balcony railing
before flight
with hundreds
of other starlings,
no, thousands,
over a field of last summer’s switchgrass,
crisply beige now and dry with its former green
mere memory, which tapped
my shoulder in the night,
when I was seeing
a desiccated world,
diseased world,
flooded world,
eroded world,
lost coasts,
islands and atolls, my bed
quivering on the Richter scale,
and I woke up
always too hot
and always hotter
because the warming is hopeless.
So I flew out over the field
finding others waiting for me
as we synced in black, each one of us knowing
where the other was,
keeping just the right distance
between us,
so that we did not intrude,
nor did we abandon.

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of six books of poetry, with a seventh, Trouble, appearing in late 2020. Her poetry, reviews, and essays are widely published in print and online, in the U.S. and abroad–in journals such as Poet Lore, TriQuarterly, Crannog, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Women & Language. An excerpt from one of her four chapbooks, The Last Gun, won the COG Poetry Award, judged by A. Van Jordon. It was subsequently animated.

© 2020, Anne Harding Woodworth

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