Migratory Flight of the Bar-Tailed Godwit

For eight days you journey
seventy-two hundred miles straight—
thirty-five miles an hour—flock
with no rest, food, or water—
nothing for your nourishing
high above Pacific Ocean
within gusts and storms,
cyclones pummeling
to the trade winds pulling
you strive to
stay the course so far
to your island of New Zealand,
(accompanied by your young
no longer the fledglings)
to travel following yearly cycle
of breeding and birth, life
over Alaskan tundra
and the feeding-filling with clams
and worms, seeds and berries
to double in size your weight
for the journey to shrink
your insides from working,
(to make room for fat),
the necessary shut-down
(partial) of your delicate brain
into conserving energy, strategies
(biological) maintaining
what you must
for arriving at distant destination
days after your Alaskan calls
you made resounding
met with preening,
bathing, stretching towards leading
from water’s edge wading
you lift yourselves one by one
into finding known V formation
in a flight drawing you into skies and wind
inviting the letting go.