Kyle Dargan
The Darkening

A murder of crows for the many

whose blood vessels will be shred

by barrel bombs’ shrapnel—the intent to maim

without exclusion. A murder of crows

for each mother and father who pawns all

except what will cover their backs

so they may join the thousands

driven into exasperated seas

to shirk their turn at becoming

casualties. A murder of crows

for the tiny bodies those seas swallow.

And do you see? A murder

of crows for those of us with eyes

keen yet uncurious. A murder of crows

for those who cooperate

and are slaughtered nonetheless.

And do you see the sky? A murder of crows

for those well aware of how easily

rights to a homeland can be voided

by militias adorned with flags and royal

rifles. A murder of crows for those

who have never worn a uniform but have

had war waged against them. A murder of

crows for a uranium pact feared fragile.

A murder of crows for the airmen who study

display screens on an armed force base,

waiting to tap triggers that incinerate

bodies in another hemisphere. A murder

of crows for the downed pilot—his parachute

guiding him into a lake where he is rescued

then burned alive for the camera. And do you see

the sky feathering in iridescent, dark—

how it does not resemble the sky you know?

It is the only sky the many have seen

for years. What little light in condolences

you offer—you, like it or not,

born with bread in your fists,

born adorably feeding the crows

the way your father fattened the crows

and his father fattened the crows. When

the murders of crows arrive broad

as a giant black stork, they claw apart

the hospitals, the nesting beds.

They bundle the last obstetrician in rubble

then soar up to perch above

the scrum, blocking the sunlight.

When the first mother abandoned during labor

breaks—when her bloody yolk runs

and makes a mud of all the dust—no longer

is there a murder. A birth: the debris and rust

tinged clay shape themselves into an unforgiving

mountain—a new scar we give the earth’s

flesh. And sometimes a scar

marks healing. And sometimes a scar can

only remind you what burned, what was

severed, what had to flee

a body—to be beheld never again.

Found In Volume 47, No. 01
Read Issue
  • darganphoto
Kyle Dargan
About the Author

Kyle Dargan is the author of five collections of poetry. His most recent, Anagnorisis, was awarded the 2019 Academt of American Poets Lenore Marshall Prize and longlisted for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He lives and writes in Washington, D.C.