The Visit The weary pines stood at my door like lost relatives who hadn’t eaten in years. I let them in- to my dreams where they could drink until every cell of their wizened beings danced to the song of water. They stayed all night telling stories of how they wove baskets of earth, decorated rocky slopes, spun the sky in honey. One time, their delicate fingers held so many winged-ones they almost flew themselves! Flew into another dream- time, flew to the clouds drifting as rain. Merlin A falcon swoops and lands in my garden its sharp talons struggle to gain purchase on the black plastic water tank. It looks momentarily confused, perhaps a song sparrow escaped with all its feathers. I witness the merlin’s endearing vulnerability as he perches regally, composed as a cat that had missed the mark Like any considerate host, I act as if he was expected, and unwittingly say that he is welcome to his full of finches. Oh how quickly I toss my feathered friendships at the appearance of this intriguing stranger his dark hood and proud speckled chest, hooked bill with tomial tooth designed to snap cervical vertebrae and rip warm flesh . . . how it suits his handsome face! The instant our eyes meet I tumble from the sky plummet like prey smitten but he kills our conversation by lifting wings to vanish as fast as he appeared. The garden is no longer the same and the finches eye me dubiously.