Killdeer Migration by Leanne Shirtliffe

Killdeer Migration

There is no time for dancing when you grow up the middle son
of five in a farmhouse filled with somebody-else-might-get-this.

Maybe that’s why he loved killdeer. Maybe that’s why
he performed his own scrape ceremony three-quarters

of a mile from the original nest, shoring up the river-backed
yard so it would weather future floods. Maybe that’s why

he performed his own broken-wing dance, luring
a rabid skunk away from the wedding tent before

nailing it with a single shot the day his youngest married.
Born in ground nests, killdeer chicks learn to run quickly

to increase their chance of survival. Maybe that’s why
I left.


Leanne Shirtliffe is a writer who teaches literature and creative writing in Calgary, Alberta. She is at work on a poetry collection at the intersection of farming, feminism, and family. Her latest work appears in Stanchion.

Twitter: @LShirtliffe
Instagram: @Leanne_Shirtliffe

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