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Invisible Visitors


All through August and September
         thousands, maybe
tens of thousands, of feathered
         creatures pass through
this place and I almost never see
         a single one. The fall
wood warbler migration goes by here
         every year, all of them,
myriad species, all looking sort of like
         each other, yellow, brown, gray,
all muted versions of their summer selves,
         almost indistinguishable
from each other, at least to me, although
         definitely not to each other,
all flying by, mostly at night, calling to each
         other as they go to keep
the flock together, saying: chip, zeet,
         buzz, smack, zip, squeak—
those sounds reassuring that we are
         all here together and
heading south, all of us just passing
         through, just passing
through, just passing through, just
         passing through.


David Budbill

Tumbling toward the End
Copper Canyon Press


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