Cliff Swallows-Missouri Breaks

Is it some turn of wind
that funnels them all down at once, or
is it their own voices netting
to bring them in—the roll and churr
of hundreds searing through river light
and cliff dust, each to its precise
mud nest on the face
none of our own isolate
groping, wishing need could be sent
so unerringly to solace. But
this silk-skein flashing is like heaven
brought down: not to meet ground
or water—to enter
the riven earth and disappear.

Reprinted from Torn Sky, Sarabande Books, 2004, by permission of the poet. Copyright © 2004 by Debra Nystrom, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Source: Torn Sky (Sarabande Books, 2004)
More Poems by Debra Nystrom