I am watching a magpie in the morning, perched on a chimney, flicking his tail. Shoulder-flash of white on wings out for landing. Silhouette gone black in this dawn-pause on brick. They are so often silent, these birds. This one will barrel his way past my balcony, will scavenge in drainpipe and gutter for grubs. Will duck his head and flatten under railings, hoping that others will have scattered crumbs

as I have. One night in the dark I stopped you on the bridge, called you quick from your story to see the geese coming downstream. One had cried out, or else I'd not have seen them. But there they were, paddling singly toward the bridge, one by one in a line on the water, its boats finally stilled for the night. And we quipped about something

but what I thought was another bridge, other geese. And darker water, and something that echoes back now as fear. And how, misted by looking toward falls we could not see, we went home to bed even though it was early. And how I could not sleep, could never sleep, and how he woke me from what would have been dreaming so that I could hear the geese flying far over my house, and how

it is taking so much time to learn to see the birds that sing here. How it is taking so long to know what to call them, how to say what it is I am trying to catch. How I am thinking I cannot tell them to you until I say them alone. And how precarious it feels

not to pause in a perch, not that,

but to flick out the low quick-lit call to come back, to come see what I'm learning to watch. The geese, as at home, gliding near us in silence. The sweet frantic sanderlings. The niched pigeons on statues, the flustering lovestruck doves. That hedged robin on our walk, trilling light and solely to those not yet there.

In the risen sun that magpie is blazing away. Are you awake yet to see it?

Today: 778 words (but none of them for the book).