High Winds


Down in the abandoned duck blind, the mallards

  heard the warning and battened themselves.


    There is not so much as a crow in sight

       and there’s never not a crow in sight.


        You could almost imagine the eagles had made

          their way back to the endangered species list

            and the herons had decided to go hungry.


              But the gulls were born and bred to these swirling gusts

                and as I stand watch on my third floor balcony,

                  a group of seventeen swerve a curve off my right shoulder


                    and bank low so I have their backs and the dorsum

                      of their wings and they are whiter than doves,

                    whiter than angels in their unison turning of thermals.


                  If Mark Morris choreographed birds, he’d have made

                this phrase of movement and costumed it stark white

              against a boiling dark backdrop just like this


            and Busby Berkeley, infinite balconies above mine

          would stand up, multiply himself by four dozen

        and give Mark a kaleidoscopic ovation


      while I, no greater than a glass chip wedged

    in a microscopic corner of the turning windscope,

would join in the deafening applause.