Susan Carroll Jewell: “There Will Be Birds”
Jack Grapes Poetry Prize Finalist
Susan Carroll Jewell, “There Will Be Birds,” 2021 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize Finalist selected by Judge Alexis Rhone Fancher
This beautiful, heart-rending poem careens to a remarkable conclusion. Hitchcock’s film, The Birds, shares space with flamingos, seagulls, nighthawks and black birds, culminating with the sparrow announcing the mother’s death. Gorgeous, devastating. And that last line! Such a beautiful, heart-rending poem.
— Alexis Rhone Fancher
There Will Be Birds
Cackling laughter at jokes about tits
and that creepy Hitchcock film,
the hieroglyphic ibis, postcards
of pink flamingos and swallows
and, oh, the seagulls and blackbirds
in this photograph and the next one, too,
why are there always birds?
We eat wings and drink cream ale
from green cans, nighthawks eight miles
high, laughing at mortality, oblivious
of the sparrow in the upstairs bedroom,
the spirit messenger beating against
the painted walls, announcing
our Mother’s death. I slit open
cards of condolence and look past
pictures of mourning doves.
When the Earth ends for us
the sky will still exist, the air
will thicken with flight
in the canary-colored haze,
and there will be birds.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Carroll Jewell has worked in offices, classrooms, cubicles, kitchens, post offices, conference rooms, and a 19th century observatory where she measured the movement of stars in the universe. Her poetry can be found in many contest outcomes, including Rattle, Iron Horse, Jack Grapes, Palm Beach Festival, and Dear Herman, but she is most proud of the flashy ribbons won at the New York State Fair. Susan earned degrees from Keuka College (BA), the University of Virginia (MAT), and the University at Albany, SUNY (MLS). Legally blind since 2020, she lives in a 1923 brick schoolhouse in Upstate New York.
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