For the earthweal prompt. Shelter is in short supply these days.
Painting by Franz Marc.
Some find no shelter
They flock, the birds by hundreds, thousands,
they herd, the deer and antelope,
the packs stick close in formation,
the prides, colonies and sounders,
sheltering from danger, among their own kind.
I watch the mingled flocks of finches,
the way crows and thrushes fight off the hawk,
their strength in trust, cooperation, selflessness.
We live behind walls in distrust,
and when some hold out their hands,
they face a hail of abuse.
Our barriers are poison and betrayal,
nests of razor wire where children hang,
the ultimate of ultimates,
the solution only a god would contrive,
annihilation, dwindling into the last syllable—
take no prisoners.
Shelter is a concept that changes
from mouth to mouth, day to day,
place to place, slippery as an oil slick,
weaponized, a temporary respite.
Birds flock, hare, rabbit, fox,
huddle together to shelter from winter’s bite,
but where do we shelter from our own kind?