And I know now, about the birds – their Latin name, their

population and international distribution. I know their


migratory patterns and have watched footage of them in

flight; could write about the slow, irregular beat of wing or


shrillness of call, but still do not know how to write about

you——————standing at the window that morning at the


repatriation clinic, grey in the early light alongside the other

old soldiers and all of you just watching the birds in the grass


outside. Seven of you there at the window, not speaking only

smoking as you'd smoked through decades of daily crossword


instant coffee, broken families, anger management, repeat

prescriptions, therapy through wood and leather work and


all those things nobody talks about. You stood smoking and

watched the birds build a nest, and though I know the word


Vanellinae—————I still do not know how to write about what

you and those grey men were waiting for.

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