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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: A poem for the quarantine-affected birds

 Seagulls swoop on some chips in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. (Des Green/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Seagulls swoop on some chips in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. (Des Green/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you happen to be one of the lucky and rare souls near a beach on this Labor Day long weekend, I wonder if your sea gulls are still looking hungry.

Scarcity of food dropped by beachgoers forces sea gulls to kill and eat pigeons

~ news report, May 2020 By Therese L. Broderick I’ve learned to tell the difference — petulant screech of blue jay, persistent squeal of wind-tossed ash tree. But this morning’s dire hysteria? never heard of until now, when crumbs littering West Lawrence Street have run out; and the largest crow I’ve ever seen shambled its way, alone, from the broad ledge of the patio wall down to the ornamental spruce, its amazon wings and tail feathers askew — airspace too scant, the angle too meager for swoops and loops. Buoyancy unaccustomed to hunger. And this other bird, my own ordinary robin unaccustomed to a black corvid descending to invade and attack her nest: stabbing the first-born chick to death, devouring it in seconds, leaving no trace of flesh on the lawn for red-chinned turkey vultures — I hear her loud, crazed skrikes as the shrieks of mothers, nurses, a helpless onlooker.

By Therese L. Broderick © 2020 All rights reserved. Previously published in the New York State Writers Institute's Trolley journal, where you can find three Therese poems.

Therese L. Broderick is an editor of Rockvale Review and a workshop leader at Pyramid Life Center. She has been a Hudson Valley Writers Guild volunteer for many years. Her poem “Mr. Canada Admonishes the Poets” won an Intro Journals Project prize from the Association of Writers & Writing. 

Her book Breath Debt: Poems was published in 2018. In a review, poet Sarah Giragosian wrote: "There is much to admire here, but I most appreciate the tightness of her lines, the playful deconstruction of language and form, and the light touch that grapples with tragedies at both the national and family scale."

Read more of Therese's words at , where she has been publishing since 2008.


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