Patricia Wallace Jones

Tree Swallows in August

At first it all seems random, then each day
another group appears, till by degrees
their black-and-whiteness fills the Refuge skies
and scattered banks and swoops of anarchy
give way to groups that practice in-line, tree-
top passes — now swallows swarm and sweep in free
yet structured flight, now soar in symmetry:
two Escher flocks merge upward joyfully.

“Bank left,” I shout, and tilt to show them how,
“Pull yourselves together — nose to tail —
“THERE IS NO ‘I’ IN SWARM.” Their Vee takes sail,
and on the Refuge road, I take a bow
to plaudits from the passing cars, then hear,
“That imbecile is back again this year.”

Michael Cantor is a resident of Plum Island, north of Boston on the Massachusetts coast, where he is a Board-certified Migration Advisor. His work has appeared in numerous journals, e-zines and anthologies; and a chapbook, The Performer, was published by Pudding House Press in 2007.