Photography © Glenn Bowie


Birdsong Apocalypse

Haven’t you noticed—
The trees trembling with birdsong!
Skunks mating on suburban lawns
in broad daylight!
Coyotes blithely trotting down Chestnut Street
on Tuesday mornings

Past the stately mansions
with plaques bragging
that some long-dead captain of industry
built this blahblahblah

Nature is resurrected amidst a plague

Once again we can see
the majestic peaks of the Himalayas!
Right whales frolic fearlessly a hundred leagues from
Manhattan-sized microplastic blooms!
Battalions of endangered sea turtles crawl out of the ocean
unmolested and lay eggs on empty beaches!
This I consider
as I take my evening perambulation
around the city
wearing a mask
Expecting any moment for zombies to shuffle out
from behind an illegally parked Honda Civic
and slowly pursue me down Linden Street
Is it wrong that I feel a quiver of elation
in this birdsong apocalypse
during this time of bleach and distancing
Walt Whitman, you had such faith in us,
such hope for our bright future!

And now look at us—
Hoarding toilet paper
and queuing up outside
Wal-Mart to buy ammo
It’s a good thing you sleep in the dust
I don’t think I could handle the sloppy tears
dribbling down into your goatbeard.


Linda Werbner is a writer based in Salem, Massachusetts. She is a therapist at a small community health center currently getting pretty burned out doing telehealth from my kitchen during this scary and uncertain time. In my spare time, I write stories for the Salem Gazette, play clawhammer banjo, make quilts for friends and family and try to commune with the wild turkeys–my spirit bird–in the neighborhood.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.