The Bird is Gone, by Darren Higgins-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

The Bird is Gone, by Darren Higgins

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Darren Higgins
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Poetry, chapbook, 28 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

Once there were billions of passenger pigeons. Massive roiling flocks swept across North America like a storm, billions of pigeons, so many that they darkened the sky, passing in a roar, so many that branches cracked and crashed beneath them wherever they came to rest, so many that their excrement would lay a foot deep by the time they moved on. Their abundance was indescribable, almost mythical, their numbers seemingly inexhaustible. And yet, by 1914 there was only one passenger pigeon left. Martha, old and unwell, sat alone in her cage in the Cincinnati Zoo—and when she died on September 1 of that year, there were none.

What happened? Overhunting, railroads, telegraph lines, development, the pigeons in their billions didn’t stand a chance.

But what did it feel like, being alive then, looking up in panic at the sky, the sun gone black? The poems in The Bird Is Gone drop readers into the storm, the awe and fear, the greed, the waste, the odd lingering quiet after a hunt—“ruins everywhere / ruined.”

Darren Higgins is a writer and artist living in Vermont with his two sons and whichever chipmunks, woodchucks, or skunks happen to be living under his barn. His poems, stories, interviews, and reviews have appeared in The Iowa Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Jacket2, Numéro Cinq, Tupelo Quarterly, Bloodroot, The Rupture, Split Rock Review, Atlas and Alice, NOON, Poetry International, The Channel, and elsewhere. Find out more at his website, darren-higgins.com.