When nighthawks strafed the meadow last night,
it reminded me of yours, of those lonely people
at the diner counter, separate but together,
sealed in melancholy, bathed in artificial light.
There’s none of that here, where nighthawks
are known as Fair Birds because they arrive
just before the Ferris wheel and bumper cars,
swooping legions a-twirl at twilight, sudden,
then gone. We are joyous for the promise
they bring: crisping nights of fall, brilliant leaves.
In free, rambunctious flight, our nighthawks
sail on seas of grass, unencumbered
by any artist’s frame like that fencing yours,
and I wonder: did your Nighthawks come
freely, or were they captured, posed
and frozen for your exhibit of despair?
When our nighthawks return this year
to pirouette and dive, we will feel
the heat of August take wing.
We will hear them buzz and cluck
and, if we listen closely, perhaps, a call
to join them — to climb off our stools,
abandon our seats at the counter,
and soar into the night.
Priscilla Melchior is a retired community newspaper journalist who discovered a love for reading and writing poetry five years ago. She lives in the mountains of Virginia with her husband and two border collies.
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