who fly epic arcs, slipping through
atmospheres, past sleeping continents –
so good at bathing, too: cajoling brine
over wings with shivering leaps backwards
then a final shimmy ten feet above
as if to baptise their former selves.
Next, the charisma of flight – their bodies
such an ingenious fit with the world
as they side-swipe the wind, ride its back
to reconnoitre the river, make lightning-culls
from the hearts of sudden white flowers.
Later they stand, dumpy yet winsome
on mirror sand, facing out to sea:
their eyes calm, gleaming like homely stars.