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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Bull


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,

tu dis.

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—

un movement.

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


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