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.