50th Birthday

The morning half a century lifted the blinds

I woke up squinting at the winter sun.


Eyes adjusted to light slower than usual, startled

by the radiance of cardinals erupting from wintergreen. 


You brought chocolate crêpes on a tray, but I had no plan to change habits. 

How swift is the common swift? I asked, so you went scrambling for undisputed facts. 


In mating flight, known as ‘screaming party,’ swifts reach 111 kph,

then, high enough for a safe glide down, they recharge with a nap.  


The ones we saw funnel down the neighbor’s chimney at dusk 

turned out to be small-footed bats. Slow down, you might have meant


to wish me. After coffee and chocolate, I return to the backyard 

to see if the ants have finished devouring the baby bat.


Without glasses, the tedium’s a tad terrifying: their morsels invisible, 

the marching too civil. With glasses, the burden augments and I wonder 


if now that I’m 50 I should discontinue the manufacture of hard feelings. 

The swift with the most southerly breeding range winters in the most northerly quarters,


you read aloud, a sign—I take it—I should push forth on sheer hunger, on the wing.


Mihaela Moscaliuc


Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of the poetry collections Cemetery Ink (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021), Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010). She is also a translator of Romanian poetry, an editor, and associate professor of English at Monmouth University.