• Marjorie Borell

Casualties of the Storm

Like some doomsday landscape of nuclear destruction or hellish episode of Twilight Zone, the streets

littered with spiny skeletons. Gutters overflow with disembodied limbs, mangled and misshapen. Gangly metallic legs with dislocated joints in twisted tangles, from open pails and piles of refuse. Wind strewn, knocked over, plastered against lampposts and curbs. Atop one another in mass graves on every corner, clogging sewer drains like nylon road kill.

Once held in high-flying esteem, their wings outstretched against the sky. Rib-boned canopies providing protection for multitudes of hats and heads. A handy refuge from the gray and gusty elements, they lie now bent and broken, skin torn from its bones and tossed into an apocalyptic pyre.

Like fledgling cranes, splayed toes too young to support their weight, they fall flapping to the ground. What cruel tempest has downed these elegant fliers, snatched too soon from their nests only to be trampled by rubber-sheathed feet as they run for cover. Dripping brims and sopping soles leap over their matted wings. Abandoned, car crushed. City blocks awash in their spokes and dismembered parts.

The sky darkens and streets grow empty. Drops to downpours. Pedestrians shrink and shiver, turning collars against the fearsome fallout. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Run, run, run. They scamper, heads cowering beneath the disabled craft swirling in eye-gouging spirals in the squall.

Strewn about like avian cadavers, dead and useless on their sidewalk cemetery. Identities cryptically

revealed in soaked and trampled like headstones on the pavement in fluttering shades of black, white, blue, green. Tot-s, Cal-way, H-att _otel-, D-lta Airl-n-s. I ----NY.

All that’s left of this fallen flock, with their snap-open necks and collapsible arms, is a heap of bat-winged compost. Never again able to fulfill their purpose to provide shelter from the storm.

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