The Barn Swallow

Summer mornings I"d watch as he
of wing and tapered tail, royal and rust,
and early morning swoops over field and lawn
dive-bombed my not-so-innocent-cat;
shoulders hunched, eyes averted,
whose tail, raised in supposed surrender,
would suddenly twist and paw for the arial acrobat
always just out of reach.

Even spied my little lion, quivering, chattering,
balancing on barn's wooden beams, eyes fixated
on unattainable little mud cup plastered to the wall
where five little nestlings precariously perched,
tipping, swaying at nests edge
seemingly willing to offer themselves up
any minute with a vertical fall.

A few found fate's end
flat and lifeless as a preserved flower
between pages of a book;
their press a dirt floor and a horse's hoof.

As my cat aged (and wizened)
he in my lap and I reading a book,
we'd let evening tide tuck us in beneath shadowed porch,
tangerine sky settling in and watch the skimming aces
frolic after winged insects, their kvik, kvik, wit, wit
joining mid-summer's lullaby.

by Margaret Bednar, June 30, 2016

Lake Leanna

It qualified more as a mud puddle than a lake, 
but we kids didn't notice or care
that sand was hauled in each year
and ended at the water line.

Squishy mud greeted our toes
the moment we stepped in,
quickly swam to the floating dock
which wobbled back and forth

with every single neighborhood kid upon it,
perhaps doing a better job at babysitting
than Mrs. Phillips, basking not only in the sun
but the latest Harlequin Romance,

or the gossiping mothers smoking
and sipping "soft drinks",
rearranging bathing suit straps
to avoid tan lines;

shook our heads
as some boys strained eyeballs
hoping for a peek of Mrs. Blue's ample bosom.
At least they came,

some moms packed a few soft drinks
in a styrofoam cooler,
waved goodbye from the front door;
provided sunblock, more often baby oil.

One day feared I'd sink
beneath greenish brown depths
as there was no room
upon the floating "nanny",

was sure no one would ever notice
my disappearance. Believe that's the day
I learned to float upon my back,
but not after a few near-death experiences.

Spent many a summer evening
digging through the sand
searching for stained red cigarette butts,
hesitantly inhaling and coughing

as we hid creekside below the dam.
Spied our teenage crush wooing a girl
upon the beach, giggled at the corny things he said,
but in the end he got his kiss and we swooned.

Summer seemed to last forever in those days,
but the years since have certainly flown.
I revisited Lake Leanna a while ago,
surprised to see a sign "Swim at your own risk".

Had to laugh as we always had,
just no one warned us.

by Margaret Bednar, April 12, 2018