On the day when the contrail was thin
and strong, then thick and ragged,
the heron’s flight was large and steady
until mobbed by rook or crow, then
split and torn, to wheel and topple,
with its screeches dry and cold.
When what is inside the kestrel’s head
is all it needs to tip and struggle on the jesses;
it might see the sky inside the glove,
the kestrel’s eye opened into flight, against
the skyline where the churches live,
where September squalls remind
both bird and tree of the purpose of life.
When the owl whose eyes dilate with
setting sun, who sees some movement
in the grass, and opens wings with dusk,
curves from the wind and reaches out
its feathered claws upon the polished
surface of the cafe table, scratches,
scrabbles, sweeps the wine glass
and its lees down to the crashing floor.