This morning, stirred beneath the agitation of rain
came three white-collar magpies to my lawn.
Jehovah’s Witness-like they knocked
they knocked upon my window pane,
stood black demanding entrance. I held my ground
but they were smart and oh-so-keen,
so upright, firm they pushed their song at me,
surprised my shrinking soul.
‘Spare my breath,’ I said, ‘you’ve fangled
on my lawn all night. Enough’s enough.
What more have you to tell me?’
‘O foolish pale and puny earthling,
save your wit – our glamorous warbling
has unlocked the last old secrets of the soul.
Go warm your winters fast against the
rising dark, the setting sun,
the climbing moon, the mourning grasses
and the chill of dusk.’
Fay Zwicky ? 2008. 'The Witnesses' first published in HEAT 16: Inner Nebulae 2008. Reprinted with permission of the author