At dusk, one by one,
hundreds of gulls fall
out of the leaden sky
onto the lake, already
beginning to close
its lid for winter.


We call them
by their names,
recognize bill color,
molt, age, species —
see everything
but living beings —
finding their spots
for the night, calling out
to kin, to neighbors.
Afloat on freezing waves,
they turn together
into the north wind.


While, on shore, wrapped
in down coats, hats and gloves,
we strain to see
every last one
in the failing light, like
it was some miracle.

Warren Woessner