is simple for the mystical at heart.

If you’re lucky, at dusk,


you’ll catch an eerie call. Linger

in a soundscape where a minute’s


marked in nineteen-hundred notes: a rising

falling trill steady as a spinning wheel, a song


mechanical and strange, conjuring

the whir of some vintage sewing machine,


fine needle motored by a treadle. The nightjar

even looks uncanny, a small-billed, steely


creature that hunts at dusk and dawn,

its wide-mouth saucer-like and finely


bristled, a boon for snaring insect swarms.

The nightjar’s been a magnet for infernal


fears—in folklore, it’s bewitched, a spirit

wandering or worse—goatsucker hovering


near herds, spreading poison, stealing

milk from nanny goats…Feathered brown


and white, the nightjar blends with bark—

witchy camouflage that makes it seem all


the more elusive. The nightjar’s eggs are laid

and hatched to synch with a full moon. Stay


grounded—a white flag doesn’t always mean

surrender. One flick of a handkerchief will mimic


the courtly wing flash of a male’s display. Call forth

the nightjar before it vanishes to forage among ferns.