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Saturday, May 11, 2024


by David Chorlton

World Migratory Bird Day May 11, 2024

Two million birds crossed the county last night
moving to where starlight
lands. It’s springtime in the sky, two thousand
four hundred feet at midnight high,
feather bright and quiet
along the true path north. It’s dark enough
up there to feel
the pull of a remembered place
while down here the sleeping mountains roll
to one side or the other, and the creeks
keep flowing on the way
to being rivers. Forests sparkle
with the sounds of insects,
the desert exhales, radios are tuned
to the secrets only darkness knows
and they play softly while
the count begins. Orioles, flycatchers
and chats; there they go, a million, a thousand,
a hundred and the one
grosbeak who already knows
the tree she will nest in.

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix, now living close to an extensive desert preserve that runs through the city. His neighbors include coyotes and the hawk families that nest between the human and natural worlds. They often make their way into his painting and writing life.