Birds Outside My Hut

I wished I had not gotten up so quickly
from the mat on the floor of my hut,
to go to the door and call out to my Acholi friend,
walking down the red-dirt path to meet me for Sunday prayer.

For when I did, I startled a flock
of large black birds with red bills
out of their peaceful morning repose and into the sky
and I did not have the chance to identify them—

unless they were Retz’s Helmet-Shrikes.
They could have been.

11 August 2013
Parish of Parwaca, Atiak, Northern Uganda



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