Dizzy birds careen over the harborside
and scud against windows and walls,
blitz chrome and belt buckle:
poisoned by a plankton neurotoxin, some
seize in flight, thud against hoods and
roofs, a hailstorm of fowl.
(At fifteen, you heard over the pig squeal
of sirens the drone of Zeppelins flying
low with payload: a flock
of crows come to tear flesh from bones,
children from the graves of their
beds.) Each terror its own
messiah, dubious in birth, endless in its
resurrections. Years later, Hollywood’s
prophet, you cruise Bel Air
in a saloon car, Burberry suit on a grocer’s
son. You, who watched hellfire rain
through sleep’s sieve of ceiling
while the women of London shed nighties
for trousers—since the first rule of sex
is survival, a scrambling out
of war and rubble. Insatiable, you marshal
parades of blonds, but all the cotton
candy in amnesiac America
will not let you unremember. Into the eye
of veteran terror, you train the camera.
In photos for The Birds, you pose
with a dead goose, a hand around its naked
neck as if it were an umbrella. Tonight, you
dine on your boyhood’s pietà.
Heather Treseler’s Parturition (2020) won Munster Literature Centre’s international poetry chapbook prize, and her sequence of poems, “The Lucie Odes,” won Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize. Her poems appear in Cincinnati Review, The Iowa Review, and Harvard Review, and her essays about poetry appear in the Los Angeles Review of Books, PN Review, and in eight books of criticism. She is a professor of English at Worcester State University and a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center.