The Barn Swallow

Summer mornings I'd watch as he

of wing and tapered tail, royal and rust,

and early morning swoops over field and lawn

dive-bombed my not-so-innocent cat -

shoulders hunched, eyes averted

whose tail, raised in supposed surrender,

would suddenly twist and paw for the arial acrobat

always just out of reach.


Even spied my little lion, quivering, chattering, 

balancing on barn's wooden beams, eyes fixated 

on unattainable little mud cup plastered to the wall

where five little nestlings precariously perched,

tipping, swaying at nest's edge

seemingly willing to offer themselves up 

any minute with a vertical fall.


A few found fate's end

flat and lifeless as a preserved flower

between the pages of a book -

their press a dirt floor and a horse's hoof.


As my cat aged (and wizened)

he in my lap and I reading a book,

we'd let evening tide tuck us in beneath shadowed porch,

tangerine sky settling in, and watch the skimming aces 

frolic after winged insects, their kvik, kvik, wit, wit

joining mid-summer's lullaby.


by Margaret Bednar, June 30, 2016


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