Friday, July 24, 2015

Nashville Witches

Despite the signs everywhere admonishing travelers
not to leave their bags unattended, and to report
any suspicious items to the nearest security agent,
two unclaimed suitcases have been circling alone
on the Gate E6 carousel for fifteen minutes.
They finally topple off, seemingly of their own accord,
and each slowly unzips itself, releasing two slender women
who carefully step from the bags and kick them away
like split chrysalises. They stretch their necks
and smooth out their dresses
and comb the crumbs from their hair with their fingers.
They step barefoot across the carpet
and through the automatic doors,
passing the line of taxis and crossing the parking lot
to flop down in the dry grass beside the runway.
When they close their eyes the air begins to stir
as the scattered pieces of all the birds
ever reduced to pulp
by the deadly inhalation of the jet engines
drag themselves toward one another,
stitching themselves back into the semblance
of winged creatures, patchworks of splintered bone
and knotted entrails and broken feathers,
tens of thousands of them flapping clumsily
above the tarmac, circling the tower
where the air traffic controllers look out in horror.
The eyes of both women snap open
and they leap to their feet and dance across the fields
toward the town, toes barely touching the ground,
accompanied by the ragged music of the flock
as its claws pluck the electrical lines
like bloodied fingers strumming a steel guitar. 

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