We had just moved to a one-bedroom apartment.
Third floor walkup. I was 12, I got the cot
In the small living room, but under a window
That opened to an airshaft and a small bit of sky.
Lying there at night, new to a city, I’d listen.
Sirens, arguments in other apartments, TVs.
And, then, above it all the haunting peents
That puzzled me. What kind of bird was that?
Walking home late at night, years on,
I’d hear the cries up in the dark sky, peent!
Then, against some lighted building, a form shot by.
Long winged, dart-like, swiftly gone.
The bird, my brother, who knew some shit, said,
“Is a nighthawk, also known as a goatsucker.”
No, no, no. No goatsucker is my night flyer.
I’ll stay with the first name, the conjure name.
I watched a nighthawk slowly spiral upward
Circling higher and higher, climbing higher,
Hundreds of feet in the twilight sky, pause slightly,
And peel into a dive straight down, catching supper.
Approaching the apogee, the night flyer cupped his wings
And, whoooosh, flew off into the night, peent!