“Flown” by Wendy Cannella

Wendy Cannella


Birds are getting smaller
wispy bodies, shrinking tomes—
their shadows still smash towers,
their deaths crack open poems.

Their feathers are no darker
nor brighter than we’ve known.
Birds are getting smaller—
but their wings have grown.

Scientists suspect a longer
wing-span, smaller frame,
helps them bear the fire
of August’s burning name.

But who can hum along
to a tiny, rushing song?

from Poets Respond
December 17, 2019


Wendy Cannella: “Maybe this little misshapen sonnet has a lot in common with the North American birds scientists have found evolving in the face of climate change. Maybe old forms won’t work anymore. Maybe like Beck suggests we are all alone in the new pollution. But I like to think about the possibility of wings growing bigger.”

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