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