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Paul Muldoon

The day our son is due is the very day

the redknots are meant to touch down

on their long haul

from Chile to the Arctic circle,

where they’ll nest on the tundra

within a few feet

of where they were hatched.

Forty or fifty thousand of them

are meant to drop in along Delaware Bay.


They time their arrival on these shores

to coincide with the horseshoe crabs

laying their eggs in the sand.

Smallish birds to begin with,

the redknots have now lost half their weight.

Eating the eggs of the horseshoe crabs

is what gives them the strength to go on,

forty or fifty thousand of them getting up all at once

as if for a rock concert encore.

From Thumbscrew magazine issue 17, 2000/1