The birds scraped across trees
sudden whips of wind
as they scrambled on cold bark.
Branches locked together in distaste,

all was silent.

As though a murmuration
of sound,
the screaming began;

the kind that forces foals
to run, hearts colliding against
their own walls.

the scream erupted, a riot
into the lungs of the night
as though drums beat, beat, beat
ensnared and torn wide
orchestras strapped to electric chairs,
violins played with barbed wire,
cymbals thrown down serrated stairs.

terror pooled into the wind
wide-eyed, mouth open
like blood whipped onto canvas
in pain.

And yet none flew.

Antlers remained fixed,
on a wall,
behind a mirrored moonlit lake.
The leaves were cuffed still, the sudden
onrush that twists around fear
lay silent.
Deadpan instruments crowded
the cracked spaces between the boughs.

All was screaming,
only screaming,
and everyone heard

because everything
inside its prisons.


Note: Cover animation by Felix Colgrave.

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