Jeffrey Ewing
V3:E7 July 2001


When I first saw the hatchlings outside the window
shuttling on leaf-stem legs from the shelter of the hedge
to the sheer face of the curb, there were ten of them;
tiny, like leaves blown into the gutter.

One tried the wall then fell back, tried only once
then went still with the others, waiting as their mother
stepped tentatively into the spilled daylight
and scanned the hunched grass around her.

The next time their topknots were forming like cowlicks
and there were five; their mother stayed close, scolding the stragglers
as they moved across ground that might have been scored glass,
her head jerking at shadows, a nervous eye fixed on the dimensionless sky.

They pecked at gravel and at the tiny burrs that fell
at the edge of the windrows; the night was hours off --
The long waiting time of darkness and flutter,
of coyotes moving and calling in sharp, anticipatory yips.

Each day they grew or ceased to grow, stepped around
the vortices of remnant feathers, and held the line, the gaps
between them never closing; the three nearly their mother's size,
but their careless pace, their darting into the open betraying their youth.

And now today, just the one, strutting along the shadow line of the warehouse,
head and knot bobbing with the measured arrogance of survival. The newly healed
grass of the field crackles in the heat, but the mother has stopped watching;
she sits in the shade of a truck's tire, her back turned to the dense, deceitful field.

Date of Birth: 1956
Location: Sacramento, California
Publications: 2River View, Tule Review, etc.
Other: Had several plays produced in New York and Los Angeles

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