Swallows at the Pool

We sit together, companionably reading,

mother and daughter,

our pale feet dangling

in the still-too-cool water

sun warming exposed English flesh,

blonde French cows bearing witness at the fence.


At movement overhead, my eyes are drawn upward 

to a squadron of swallows hurtling toward

a stately line of tall trees,

tiny black wings furiously a-beat,

bellies flashing white underneath.
Then two or three break rank,

turn forked-tails and dive-bomb the pool,

swift, silent, bold – ready to refuel

with a swoop that barely skims the surface;

perfect execution, fulfilling their purpose.

And in their descent, to my lounging view,

their white undersides are illuminated blue,

transforming them suddenly to my surprise 

into tropical birds of paradise.
Later my girl will dive in too,

her fragile, flat belly briefly glowing blue

my heart fluttering in my throat

as I watch her body’s graceful arc.

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