some dreams they forgot

The dead birds fell, but no one had seen them fly,

or could guess from where. They were black, their eyes were shut,

and no one knew what kind of birds they were. But
all held them and looked up through the new far-funneled sky.
Also, dark drops fell. Night-collected on the eaves,
or congregated on the ceilings over their beds,
they hung, mysterious drop-shapes, all night over their heads,
now rolling off their careless fingers quick as dew off leaves.
Where had they seen wood-berries perfect black as these,
shining just so in early morning? Dark-hearted decoys on
upper-bough or below-leaf. Had they thought poison
and left? or—remember—eaten them from the loaded trees?
What flowers shrink to seeds like these, like columbines?
But their dreams are all inscrutable by eight or nine.

Elizabeth Bishop

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