I freeze, startled by the sudden flight
of a mud swallow against the backdrop
of a tilt-up building, swarm
of chirping notes I cannot decipher,
a blur of two beating wings
once a bird among many birds
now a poverty of one.
As I approach, men and women
from Guatemala and Oaxaca
run from the daylight and hide
behind bins and roll-away dumpsters.
I shake my head. They should have no fear.
They return, point to the mud swallow
building a home above our heads.
Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife and a July abundance of plums. He has work in Clerestory, Amethyst Review, Mojave Heart Review, Rabid Oak, and The Monarch Review. He works in mental health.