SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.


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).

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