Melanie Daniels Smokes a Cigarette in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

by Aaron Brame


This is dramatic irony.


We know what she does not—

the crow, the horrid hop,

the jungle gym a host of claws.


She is dazed, pale of complexion.

Fetching in her green suit,

but facing the wrong direction.


We see the murderous bunch converge

in hibbeldy-hobbeldy disarray

while she worries that cigarette away.


Then one errant raven grabs

her eye, and irony ends.  In the

flock-darkened day, she sidesteps away

and is safe.


We know that a convenient escape

portends devastation,

a riot of claws. She knows

this too, and is not wrong.