Condemnations Series:

The news came with photos of another occurrence of a fallen black flock; masses strewn across lawns, peppering rooftops, streets and sidewalks.

More photos showed bodies fixed in varying degrees of unnatural postures. Wings and feet held in unorthodox manners and angles, feathers disheveled, split and torn. The nuance and complexity of their structure, usually masked by distance, swiftness or my total disregard laid bare in the turn of a head and stretch of a neck. The minuscule weight of their bodies made palpable as ground pressed against breast and bird pressed upon bird. Each body of the homologous mass lay singularly discernible from the next. The poignancy for me is not in these foreboding occurrences or the numbers involved but in the way the traumas laid bare the validity of the body and bone beneath the perceivable form and the equivalence to our own human actuality and physical limits to endure. 

At fifteen Clare had already learned and forgotten how dead people lie crooked and serene, monstrous, oblivious to the terror their stillness causes…He had forgotten, as well, the way dead people revert to materials, how limply their weight obeys laws, and drapes like cloth or bags, so that whoever sees them asks, Why is he holding his head that way? or, How does she bend like that? - until he recalls that this a corpse now, the muscles of which no longer hold and direct its bones, and which lies like mutton wherever the living stick it, while the living move on.”

-Annie Dillard, The Living