Blue and Yellow Barn-Swallows

She made a note to note when they arrived.
It’s obvious whenev’r they fin’lly do.
Over the cows they dipped and ducked and dived.
“They have two houses; shouldn’t we have two?
I wonder where they stay in Mexico?
Or maybe Florida? Or some Texas barn?
Either way, darling, we will never know;
and here they are again, stealing the yarn!”

Adobe nests, clinging to white-washed beams
festooned in spider-webs, were tidied up
by swallows who came flying through the seams
of wood, or glassless windows, where they’d sup
their chicklings on regurgitated gnats,
deftly, and agile, like diurnal bats…


Sturnus vulgaris

A starling’s like a waif who isn’t coached,
some spoiled brat who mimics in retort
right after (by you) he has been reproached.
I got the gun out for a little sport.
The starlings are the worst, and I would pot
them all, if I could; o the way they shriek!
I bird-proofed my garage; I kid you not,
to get back in it, took them just a week.

But starlings, too, are like those gopher things
at carnivals who go back in their hole
before you pound their brains in and it stings
(all the worse) your red and ornery soul.

Of course, right when I had reposed my gun,
the vexing menace shrieked by on the run!


Reid McGrath is a poet living in the Hudson River Valley in New York.

Featured Image: “Barn Swallows” by Carl Brenders

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