We ring them to avoid any future
tragedies. Caught at today’s quiet
crossings the robins are unfed
and unbound. The first thing we do is
look at their subcutaneous stores of fat.
They come on a scale of three—at
the top: insects last night, the middle
a starved day, the bottom ‘serious
deficiencies’ and then
not much of a point. If you trace
their fortune to their tarsometatarsus
you should see where we take pliers
to them. You ought to be be tight so no
unfortunate branch snatches their flight
and hanging by a leg they whip their suddenly
airless wings like fish outside water. You’d have
to watch them to get it. Even when they were
buffeted against our nets you and they
and probably us all got tired of the drama.
They benefit from our regulations
and the pie-chart we produce annually
on their distributed weights vis-à- vis
the migratory season. They’ll be here
I hope so long as we’re here and then
some more. If you came to see their leg
rings detach themselves you came too early.
It is not the case that you were here
for the collagen wedged between the rocks
and the dead robins. Consider them
now and their absence.