I found them just off the fireroad
by the marsh, around a low
bush of wind-stripped sweet gale,
breastbones like ploughshares,
skulls papery, still unscuffled where
they'd crouched in their circle,
heads outward, still facing
whatever night brings, ready
to explode up the air
that found them out and feathered them
a flake at a time and left them under
rain and crust. This morning,
my gaze drawn upward by a muffled
thump at the skylight, three
drank on yellow feet
from a gathered night rain,
their bellies patterned with arrowheads,
another little drama of the fall;
and certain gifts from childhood
occurred, models of perfection I had
no fingers fine enough to assemble.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 9 Number 2, on page 50
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