An eagle retreats
a crow escaping
four and twenty blackbirds:

squadrons of fighter pilots
patrolling nests—like flycatchers
on the peck riding the shoulders

of hawks—a brutal business
in the air over eggs
and babies in pintails

needing to be fed
or be food for others—
trees full of gaping beaks,

all the helpless beginnings
awaiting their place by design
amid hostilities of spring


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