Four and Twenty

Why does the caged bird sing?
to tell us was the work of a poet,
but I never understood
because birds don’t sing
not for me
they squawk and screech
pick carrion clean
shit on statues
and break their necks
flying into windows at berry-drunk speeds
these are the birds of my world
heads severed, de-feathered
roasted at 325 degrees
frightened from brush
blasted by metal
plummeted to the ground
gripped in the jaws of a mirthless hound
these are the birds of my world
and they don’t sing
not when free, not in snares
not in newsprint lined cages
they don’t sing
not anyway, that I’ve ever heard

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