Still Life with Starlings

by Michael Jenkins

I decide little or nothing, still life
keeps happening to me, so I’m dying

to ask my nameless neighbor, who is
undergoing chemo, I think, judging

by her eyebrowlessness, her obvious wig
(cowardice or valor, I can’t say which),

how she, how I, how anyone decides
to stay or go, although we only hello

weekly at the curb on garbage nights,
plus that time we paused under a cloud

of starlings, hundreds swelling as one
like a lung darkening the evening,

a sigh heard slipping from their wingtips,
my neighbor’s dry lips, maybe just the sky.