You are readying to go.
You say you will bring nothing
and no one. You cluck when I kip.
This is your migration. It is not mine
or any of your clutch’s. (We are five.)
You have begun to cast
off your jewels. They slide from your talons
onto ours. I, the lasthatched (latchkey),
inherit the silver and agate
ring hocked from a Highland chatelaine.
Souvenir from a foiled reunion.
Surprised you at the airport with a hen.
You drifted over Scotland in a rental, heartache
swayed by those you brooded
with, poured more Scotch.
You bequeathed me beauty and wildness (ferocitatis obliti, et pulchritudo).
I wanted neither and rejected
both but now, even as they moult,
I bear your gifts, a crest for each raised claw;
this one, and the other.
Apple cleft by your trunk.
(Two mismatched feathers stowed
in a paper box. Five needlesharp
cat whiskers. One dead wasp.)
— Regarde! Tu peux voir le vent quand il y a des arbres,
We cannot know it is too dark our animal eyes
are not adept to see
—blending primary colours makes black,
which is not a colour, as there is no true black
but void; this certainty—
if the darkness is opaque,
may it be warm as a deep and natural sleep,
as a blanket knit for you alone, of heavy boiled wool, a gift for once not shaped
by your own nimble digits—
My mind’s eye a black
pebble skipping over the Saint-Laurent
shoreline with you. Jettied rocks rap and crack. Salt pricks fog. The discarded rhythms of the waves quiver and break. You could read
the northern bank from the mud nest you hatched from. Hooked to its cliff overlooking your river. It has since been razed
but we remember our roosts.
The river delivered our ancestor in 1621.
The river beads your eyes.
Your locomotive beats fledge
fledge fledge fledge fledge fledge.
Wedged between tracks
and terns you thicket,
cold in your limbs seasons deep).
A flight. A gulp
—you expect extinction;
I hold out numbly for reunion
(philopatry: the tendency of an organism
to stay in or habitually return to a particular area).
Burrow to root
to stem to stern to trunk
to bough to nest (to rock).
With topographic memory
navigate back to the home scrape.
Site-faithful to our habitats, maybe we