Some believe there's somewhere in the brain that senses minor fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field and uses a sort of memory of that to travel the same route year after year over thousands of miles, over open ocean on moonless, clouded nights, and a built-in clock that, save for weather's influence, tells when it's time to go. But they utter nothing of thwarted dreams in birds' brains, how a few cubic feet near the ground, however well-kept and lighted, however large it seems around a small bright bird, is like a fist closed tight on feather and bone, how, certain times of year, the bird's heart races as if to power flight.
From Inspiration Point by Matthew Spireng. Copyright © 2002 by Bright Hill Press. First appeared in Half-tunes to Jubilee. Reprinted by permission of Bright Hill Press. All rights reserved.