Howard Firkin
for Lizzie, Anna, Katya, and Esther
      What fragment of a universal plan
is made apparent in those tiny heads?
What secret germ of knowledge do you spread
along the sinews of the flights that span
these senseless continents and endless seasons?
      Four swallows on a wire. Soon you’ll be gone
to make your next impossible migration,
a search for one convincing destination
before the loss of will to travel on.
You have your purposes, if not your reasons.

Give my regards to anywhere you call.
Pass on a thought from one you chanced to meet:
The slave parts of this living whole are small,
unnumbered, unremembered, incomplete…