Swallows in Early September

Silhouette of birds

they were everywhere
filling skin and sky
their white bellies blinding

i was shattered
into a thousand shades of blue

they rose and fell as one
each small body becoming another
and for once,
i knew what it was
to belong

we stood at the western edge
watching wingtips turn
over our shoulders
waves of distant shores

and another father and daughter
stood ready
for their return

i wanted to hold his hand
like i used to
gather all that had been lost
and press it into his palm

instead, i took his eyes
saw my own, exhaled
aren’t they wonderful?

this place was ours in summer
i see now, it was always theirs–
up, the mass shivered
rising like wave
more wind than feather

lifted, we flew
above the craggly edge
between where we were headed
and what was left behind



Poem by Geneva Toland

Geneva Toland is a writer, farmer, naturalist and teacher currently residing on occupied Munsee Lenape territory along “the river that flows both ways” (Hudson River). She spends her time creating reciprocal relationships with seeds, birds, water, trees, and the people in her community. She writes poetry to remind herself and others that beauty lives everywhere, and in everything.