Stephanie Tom / Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, NY

English Teachers: Ms. Marigrace Cirringione

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This poem is inspired by a true event, when nearly 400 migratory birds died after crashing into the Galveston building in Texas, earlier this year in May. I hope that after reading this poem, readers will remember why it's important to spread awareness and partake in environmental conservation, so that every little thing about earth that has previously been overlooked will not be taken for granted and will be appreciated.


On a spring day bordering the cusp of windy weather and
thunderstorm season, they found 400 birds on the sidewalk,
all dead after crashing into the side of a high-rise, sprawled
on the ground like the sunbeams streaking across the shiny
windowpanes that had been the bane of these birds. The sky
shimmered with wavering heat, and all of the carnations
growing along the street bowed their crowns lower towards
the dirt, practiced funeral procession easy after so many times.
Grass grew a little slower that day, let their stalks cushion
the gravity of life a bit more to let footsteps fall softer and to
let the birds have a resting space they could sleep on. The
butterflies are all fluttering, so that there are still wing beats.
All of those bodies, curled into one another and wings
outstretched and dreams dead; all of those bodies like the
aftermath of so many shooting stars. It's almost summer, and
this is the time for everything new to pique before it starts to
slip; the marigolds are held open in endless wonder and the
trees are bursting with nests full of fledglings learning how to fly.
Summer is the only season in which we can see all of the
constellations in the open sky that aren't usually visible in the
stitches of dark between city skylines. All of the rivers in the
world run towards the same mouth somewhere; somewhere
across the horizon is a river feeding into the spring of a forest.
The old question asks if a tree falls in an abandoned forest
whether or not it would make a sound, but that's how nature
goes. After all, Robert Frost was the one to remind us that
"nothing gold can stay" — not the gold leaf on the fallen tree
when the afternoon sun angles along the edges of its leaves; not
the bodies of rivers that have to end, simply because bodies
aren't meant to be infinite ; not the constellations that melt their
way back into the velveteen darkness; not the fledglings that fall,
not the marigolds that wither in the stifling heat, not the sun
when it shifts into shafts stretching further away from us, not the
butterflies turning hurricane by Chaos Theory, and not the birds
who fell from fifty stories up, who all fell from the sky towards
earth faster then shooting stars, so quiet that you couldn't hear
their wings beat one last time against the soft down of grass.