An osprey beats the wind with bowed wings,
steady till it drops and shakes in flight.
The wind catches and it rises again.
I watch from the porch where I’ve come early
to stop avoiding our father’s call. Last night,
I turned the ringer off then on then off again,
swiped down to ignore but texted back.
There are two birds in the tree across the street
and a third circling and circling, rising and falling
in the wind from a distant hurricane.
The phone rings. He wants to talk about you.
They say each bird attends to just seven others, and,
in this way, a thousand starlings turn together
like one creature. I’ll try not to make this a metaphor.
Once, you and I climbed the hills outside
Florence, Italy. Our dearest ones climbed with us
and, because we were few and each one loved
by all the others, I thought we made a kind of net
that might hold the breaking world together.
A murmuration of starlings unfurled like the aurora
borealis, a sheer curtain caught in wind,
twisting, tracing a path through twilight.
A hawk swoops low over the osprey nest.
I think it might land, but it doesn’t. You ask to meet
for coffee. Our father calls, and I don’t answer.
Amy Watkins grew up in the Central Florida scrub, surrounded by armadillos and palmetto brush and a big, loud, religious family—the kind of upbringing that’s produced generations of southern writers. She married her high school sweetheart, had a baby girl, and earned her MFA in poetry from Spalding University. She is the author of the chapbooks Milk & Water (Yellow Flag Press) and Wolf Daughter (forthcoming from Sundress Publications).