Winter Solstice

Who's in charge of the nip and tuck
of a winter sky,
the long solstice,
the constellation of birdsó
grackles, perhaps,
ribboning their way across
the low pink horizon,
the smoky gray of December
skies, a path to somewhere
not here?
The ribbon curls in on itself.
The flock, if something so large
goes by that name, millions
of black wings erupting
from the North, flows
like the air has become
a river, the birds banking
and shifting with the currents.

Complete silence except for a
crow startled from its
stubble field by the endless
flight above, the river of small
black birds headed South
following a leader miles ahead.
Did a call go out, a line of call and
going? yes.
going? yes.
going? it's time? yes.

A huge uplift of wings,
the first to go bending
the grass, their wings
disrupting the air, a soundless
void, the air pulling the others:
from their perches in the pines,
from reflections in a horse trough,
from the chaff in the beak.
the tug of movement, of linear
motion, undeniably steering
the blood, the ancient migrating
brain does not resist.

This is no parade, no one
from below looks up,
sees the speckled sky,
the miles of black motion.

Patricia Bostian teaches English at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC while raising her young children and editing The Wild Goose Poetry Review. Recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her work has been published in Frogpond, Potpourri, The Southern Poetry Review, The New Press Literary Quarterly, Forpoetry.com, and Yemassee among other journals. (patricia.bostian@cpcc.edu)

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