All signs point to violence at the end

At this quiet end of the cul de sac;

Death-sullied gentility.

Flurry of grey in the last flight of feathers,

Under-down flung from matchstick-boned body-

Nakedness the last indignity.

At the hands or claws of what?

Whose maw would tear head from spine?

Bare vertebrae spike, an obscenity.

Did your hoarse screech send waves of shock

Down still, grey air? Black beak wide

With pain, bead eyes panicky?

Jerky swagger stilled. Pied, green-black startle

Of a bird wind-scattered now.

A blue feather-eye glows with fading vitality.

~Polly Oliver (2017)

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