In those first days of songless absence, centuries ago, scientists swore swallows dove into lakes and rivers, spent winters submerged— breath held, silt-swaddled; so much so that they solicit fishermen to draw the swallows up in nets so they might have proof, revive them. Other hearsay goes, the people of the towns assumed the swallows shed their feathers, shrank into tree hollows, survived on sun-gained stores, could go unseen so long as they became unrecognizable. It was a comfort that swallows might persist as kinds of ghosts. Another theory at the time proposed a sleep- flown space migration, the swallows simply steering up and stirring only when they felt the lunar cold. Winter was a question charged with loss; a sky of eaves, unnested. The swallowless imagined an enormous possible—in those days, the swallow a shorthand for the soul. ____
Violeta Garcia-Mendoza is a Spanish-American poet, writer, and photographer. She is a member of Carlow University’s Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops and a reader for Split Rock Review/Press. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Peatsmoke, The Dewdrop, and Saint Katherine Review. Violeta lives with her family in Western Pennsylvania. You can find her online at https://www.violetagarciamendoza.com and on IG @violeta.garcia.mendoza and Twitter @VioletaGMpoet.