They haven't come back, the martins. Just that
once they seemed to be everywhere
in the garden. The summer air
was full of midges. But their skill
and speed was what struck us. We sat
inside and watched them swoop and kill.
They did a thorough job: since then
neither of us has been bitten. So
perhaps every evening they go
a new post-code to purify,
and they'll only grace our skies again
when the next generation's here to die.
First published in Poetry Salzburg Review, no 27