And once again
they too are back,

high up each spring
on thermal drafts

above the green
to drift and tack

with tilting wings
like sails but black

because no songs
will fill their beaks

from picking clean
our mortal tracks,

for what’s to sing
of this one fact

their silence means,
this circling back?


Bruce Guernsey’s poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, and American Scholar, among others. His collections include January Thaw (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006) and The Lost Brigade (Water Press and Media, 2005).

First published in Measure, Volume 2 (2007)