A. Loudermilk


A plane crashed then hundreds of birds
disgorged by an updraft
fell already dead, experts reported,
on a town in the Midwest.

That night, cold & sleepless, townspeople
walked around the crash site
as hair drifted down from the sky
electric-white & yet

clinging to the town like a web
—gone by dawn, transparent:
to leave snow where there was no snow
heaving with a secret.
One rock fell, then another rock.
Every window in the world broke.
!50!Now we stand: front yard
!50!praying Bring it on, Lord —
come back like a train down a track

to get us: highjack some sparrows,
harness four diving horses, be virus
!50!turned moral and airborne.
!50!Cut our throats with a thorn
and we’ll remember the forest.

A. Loudermilk’s book Strange Valentine won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, with individual poems in Cream City Review, Gargoyle, Smartish Pace, and Tin House—dating back to the 1990s when Mark Doty introduced him as a new voice in The James White Review. He is also a cultural critic with articles in the Journal of International Women's Studies, Bright Lights Film Journal, The Writer's Chronicle, and PopMatters. For over a decade he taught writing and literature at Hampshire College in Amherst and Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He now works at the local tea shop in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.