by Devi S. Laskar

(Published in the 2012 Tule Review) 

“I know sirens are especially bad news when they come for you.” – Terrance Hayes

Everybody, and I mean everybody on the interstate

sitting through the aftermath of that 40-car pileup, replete

with helicopters and jaws of life, candy-red fire

engines and highway patrol clad in ash-colored uniforms

and giant holstered guns, heard them. At first, it sounded like bees

swarming just before the mind alerts you that bees hum in groups

when gunning for you, then it switched to a children’s choir,

well, a choir from an all-girls school, girls who were still at a distance.

As it got closer, it seemed like angels but not the kind we think

of at Christmas; and closer still, the temperature skied high,

the ground trembled and even the trees on the other side of the sound

barriers swayed to this music; everyone got out of their cars

and the women looked up and saw feathered bodies looming

as the men all dropped to their knees and screamed. I thought at first

they were the furies but saw their childish faces, beauty

and terror, and knew they were the sirens coming for us all.