Magpie in the Snow Trees this first wet fall pulled the branches down. their snap-back sends snow and leaves airborne. they hit the pavement like a killed bird. in the park, the magpie kits still struggle with flight. their bones catch downdrafts. they hit trees and tumble in a mass of adolescent in-feathers into the lower branches, catch a limb and swing back to the vertical and launch. it's still a world of leaves and birds. the snow's a visitation. but they don't migrate, magpies. they'll hunt songbirds through the winter, feast on glass- killed chickadees and sparrows who can't see windows and collide. in this first fall magpies shake themselves and launch towards my window. stop and peer inside. they can see me, where the sparrows just saw sky. Flight You crouch in the frost and fieldstone gathering all your sight and wait. Barbed wire curls down the sand wall to the ice. Cold you barely remember grows like lichen loving your stillness. The terns flying north through this saturation are sheathed in light so brilliant that any single breath will make them shatter.
Annette Lapointe was raised by hippies in rural Saskatchewan. She has lived in Saskatoon, Quebec City, St John’s, Seoul, Jinju, and Winnipeg. She now lives and teaches in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Her first novel, Stolen, was published in 2006, and her second, Whitetail Shooting Gallery, appeared in 2012.