ornithological term for “migratory restlessness”

They shift and mutter in the dark
of their cages, the bars
an insubstantial lattice before the wheeling dome
of stars brightening ever earlier;
the magnet
drawing them like iron filings—a tug
through the breastbone
where the wing muscles tense—
pointing them, indifferent to perch
or seed or bath,
facing the way of travel
Yesterday the starlings poured across the sunset sky
in a shimmering river
endless currents made of flight
it flows through me still
At night
tossing and twisting in the sheets
I stare unseeing,
my mouth moves, searching
for other languages,
in my chest          a fluttering
that will not give me ease

Olivia V. Ambrogio’s work has been published in over 25 journals and anthologies, including Sugar Mule, Electric Velocipede, Café Irreal, and Fugue. A native Detroiter, she headed east to get a Ph.D. studying the sex lives of marine snails. In spite of the surprising allure of this research field, she ended up in science communication in the D.C. area and does writing and photography whenever she can.