Barn Swallows by Martin Willitts Jr.

Barn Swallows

Under the bare branches shaking their last leaves,
increments of light never reach here.
Two barn swallows are soundless in miles of heat.
They are where the river once cut across.

Not from the church choir
they are too parched to practice for.
They have folded wings into starched clothes
like prayer hands etched from plowing.

They begin gliding for no reason.
Maybe they are trying to stir the stilled air.
Maybe this is why the miles are soundless,
why singing just doesn’t help anymore.

by Martin Willitts Jr.

Martin on Facebook

Editor’s Note: This poem makes its point indirectly, using non-literal imagery. As someone who has often watched barn swallows flying, the suggested reasons for their behavior appealed to me.


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