Today abstracted
as a glass of milk
forgotten by a kid who went
into this interminable
rain to play, I was reading
up on the science of tracking
the movement of birds
through spring. It seems
just as for us says Professor
Martin Wikelski of Princeton
who each night for six weeks
with his team of researchers
captured and carefully
injected thrushes with double
labeled water ampules,
for the birds a long
spring flight is painless
relative to the fighting
at rest areas that can really
drain the migrating out of you.
I have so many questions.
First the doubly labeled
water technique. If on
a cool day a bird at rest
a nonflying bird
staying warm consumes
the same kilojoules
as two and a half
wind tunnel hours,
how many isotopes
does it take to tremble
in the researcher's hand?
What happens if overhead
in the clouds or laughing
at a joke about penguins
someone loses the birds?
Each morning the researchers
inject a small
portion of double water,
each evening
the blood reports,
to where they are going
the thrushes move closer,
the researchers follow,
soon they can go
back to Princeton
Twin Rivers or Hightstown,
say goodbye thrushes,
and it occurs
to me in my snowglobe
surrounded with rain
on Water Street by the sea,
it's possible all this
capturing daily
was for some other purpose.
Put down the paper.
I'm sure I can see
each week the team
growing increasingly
tender holding
the small thrushes they
probably had to name.
Go, Jerry, soon you will be
in Canada where
Neil Young was born.