ORNITHOLOGY

For Meredith

 

looking down at you

on your two year old toddler legs

I hobble on my new hip

you see them first

sense they are nesting nearby

insist we search for birdies

 

your optimistic hunt begins

in the supermarket carpark

bare concrete and fluorescent light

no deterrent to your determination

 

I see the swallow sweep and swoop

Hirundo Neoxena    realise

as it alights upon a pipe

it is watching us watching it

 

the Welcome Swallow’s dart and dash

a show to distract you from the nest

the vigilance of a parent

returning to the same uncertain roost

leads you to her young

hardwired betrayal

 

you search the ceiling

for the nest until you find

a mud cup with two bobbing heads

sticking out the top

you squeal with delight

 

it takes my old eyes time

to adjust    you were on them in a flash

I look to my feet and see

the white and grey droppings from the nest

I need to tell you

how to find the nest by looking down next time

 

but you are off

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