BLACKBIRDS by stephanie roberts

BLACKBIRDS

for frank o’hara

toni morrison would say, he dragged that child by her hair. her hair!
her fellow red-wingeds sprang to her like mama blue jay
will come at you, gloves to the ground, and flat out belt you
in the head if jay jr. is sitting on the patio table.

just bikinis and bare feet, they flapped around—rage-afraid.
their Girl pressed through the earth, in her pink triangles,
with that brute of a crow perched—glock and badge fists
wound in the braid of tender feathers under authority’s uniform sneer.

a thirty-something, forty-something, fifty-something, sixty…
rat, in khaki cargo shorts, tan polo shirt, ubiquitous go-team baseball cap
and sandals, strolls past mayhem as a ten year-old colonialist unnotices
a slave auction or a southern man a lynching. scarecrows off-duty
compassion’s cornfield.

across and over patio tables of devilled eggs, seven-layer dip,
barbecue chicken, collards, codfish, patacones, suya,
satay, tamales, kimchi, hummus, coleslaw and prosecco,
crow’s brother, auntie, cousin, niece, will be the one to tell me
how hard cops have it. they know in their sleep, their
fledglings are not a species endangered.

in the background, miles davis blacks in blue.

they cry and cry red wing blackbird—the god-made resting place
for slugs. amen and amen. nothing to see. here.

By stephanie roberts

Biography:

stephanie roberts has work featured or forthcoming, this year, in The Stockholm Review of Literature, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Room Magazine (Canada), Shooter Literary Magazine (UK), Rat’s Ass Review, After the Pause, The Thing Itself, The Inflectionist Review, and elsewhere. Born in Central America, she grew up in Brooklyn, NY and now lives just outside of Montréal in a wee french town. Her twitter @ringtales, mixes a passion for literature, blacktwitter, resistance politics, and a boilermaker of irreverence. www.oceansandfire.com

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