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Birding the I-4 Corridor

by Mark McKain

Last Tuesday your prediction came true: four cranes
winged across my windshield. The second quartet
trumpeted across six lanes of traffic, 7:23am,

diesel and coffee fuming my interior. Crossing
into Polk County, long necks poured into a shallow ditch,
a chick standing near. Exit 33: a swallow-tailed kite

clipped the tree line; tractors rolled up a tract
of hammock like a ball of spun wool.
A low arrow of cormorants pointed toward Key West.

Crepuscular fields and trees drifted in fog. I glimpsed dark
forms on a fence and squatting in the grass—vultures
before thermals lifted them: a scene from Inferno

what circle?—etched by Doré. Near Orlando, ibis chevroned
over a Chevron sign. Hot-air balloons
hung on a gold & vermillion horizon. Feathers and fog

rose. The radio, noting floods, fires, earthquakes, recited:
Find again the world of light. Red sun touched
green earth, black tread, osprey, overpass; I wanted to talk

to you, dear dead friend, my eyes filling softly sapphire.


Mark McKain’s work has appeared in The New Republic, Subtropics, Blue Mesa Review, Green Mountains Review, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook Ranging the Moon was published in 2003, and in 2006 he was awarded a Writing Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center. He teaches writing at the University of Central Florida. (10/2009)

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