( . . . As for the Swallows, All They Were Doing)

as far as I am able to see all
the ways it works     all
they were doing was eating
the evening meal—

whether hunger made it that particular
pass-out gravitational pull up turning
as I see it         exciting
or pressurized as simply necessary

to eat to live        I’m not in on that swing
of evolution that these birds are
to know        I can only admire

the shit-your-pants come round about curves
they swallow with a grace such as
I take        in
                   my stamp    open screaming mouth—

teddi said she used to know me to be quiet
mute if not silent    and when she said I’d
grown up to be a blabbermouth     the whole house
broke out the laughter   to celebrate her

her loving insult     her lovely truth    we don’t talk
pretty.       we people tracking our hungers
plotted against by merely being   us plotted against
black our being eaten     swallowed in the calculations of

white sheets taking off high flying plans for turning
back any move forward we tried with any curve they could
try to pull           but us neither well behaved as pretended

we intended to take this that we could take
these sickening curves thrown    back down your throat
and make you sick feeding         what you feed us     watching

                   the swallows

Copyright © 2023 by Ed Roberson. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved.