Down the street, the abandoned
with swifts. They have begun
to nest in chimneys, too; you hear
stories about nestlings
falling out of the flue, of children
wandering into the kitchen
with an ash-dusted chick
that is squeaking, furious and blind.
The news says that proper procedure
is to place the fallen bird on the wall
of the chimney and let it climb
the rough brick back to the nest.
The climb may take days, we are told
but we should not let the worried chirps
of the mother, the chick's quiet scrabbling
above the fireplace inspire us
to further assist; they are not perching birds,
they are made to traverse distances.
Soon it is impossible to follow
their trajectories, swarming
from the confines of a smokestack
but it is enough to hear
the cacophony of their departure,
see the sunset blotted by wings,
know that they will not land
for eighteen months, sleeping
in flight, navigating by stars, catching
rain drops with open mouths
in the storm.