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    summer flowers in a field

    Poem: No One Wrings the Air Dry

    Laurie Klein

    February 19, 2016
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    1
    Seeping
    , like swollen eyelids
    behind Burney Falls,
    a dozen nests daub the cliff.
    Mother Swift is a black knife
    thrust sidewise, the maul of water
    rent. Shred-by-strand,
    her cargo of moss jeweled
    by the mist, she stalls
    mid-air: Stone Sweet Home,
    slicked over with spit.

    2
    In the streaming
    darkness
    the slow, exacting language of eggs.

    3
    No lulling pulse
    , or voice –
    chicks in their shells wake
    to endless tumult. Pure roar.
    Where warmth hovers,
    each day’s solace is juiced
    with spiders and gnats,
    bees, beetles. Whatever it takes.

    4
    Hour by hour
    , the breached
    torrent. The killing cold.
    For each shivering life,
    she is the preening beak.

    5
    First hop
    ’s a doozy. Readied
    for iridescence, her offspring
    brave the shock of quiet,
    dry air, and daylight. They carry,
    from this flight forward, night’s
    living sheen in their hollow bones.

    swallows flying low over a summer fiield Bruno Liljefors, Common Swifts (detail). Used by permission. philippajones.com
    Contributed By Laurie Klein

    Laurie Klein is an author and artist who lives in Washington State. Her first poetry collection, Where the Sky Opens: A Partial Cosmography, was published in 2015 (Cascade).

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