Pat Swenson

Living Things

I am and am not
this body just as

the dead finch
at my doorstep is not his body.

Below the stairwell a striped tabby
lurks like a cancer cell.

Still, the cat
was only doing her job:

the food chain,
used to balance our world.

I balance myself
as I aimlessly stride

beside the blossoming
family of poppies.

They sway in familial order
as I step over

the sluggish waterbug.
He has a purpose too.

Cliff Swallows

Capturing prey in mid-flight,
the furious shades of crimson
soar into their gourd-shaped mud nests
suctioned under the eaves.
Here, they feed their young flyers
whose chestnut crests spy
out of guarded portholes,
hoping someday to rise
into that other sky,
that other aortal light.

Copyright 1996, Pat Swenson

Pat Swenson is an instructor of English in Los Angeles. She has a MA in English
from California State University, Northridge, and a MFA in poetry from Goddard
College. She has published in several US publications.