Letters by Kenny Mah

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November 12, 2015

Hey you,

You like taking pictures of birds in flight
Gulls and herons and cormorants
Hawks and sparrows and swallows too
Sometimes pigeons if there really aren’t any other birds
(My Italian friend Manuel used to call them “rats with wings”)
You tell me about the fairy penguins you saw
Years ago, at Phillip Island, a nocturnal parade
You’ve been wanting to photograph them since
No penguins spotted so far though
As we drive from coast to coast
Also: no kea (though it’s supposed to be curious)
And no moa (extinct; perhaps too curious)
We observed a kiwi bird, larger than we expected,
Jabbing with its beak for food, in a sanctuary
We hold hands in the darkness, smiling
Without quite seeing each other’s face
You’ve been taking pictures of birds in flight
Spoonbills and ibises and ducks
Black swans and moorhens and doves
But your favorite must be the albatross
We’ve seen them nesting on cliffs
And soaring in the sky with wings stretched wide
We’ve seen one take off in Kaikoura
After the sperm whale had taken its dive
Graceful, majestic, serene
You tell me they mate for life
There’s something about its wandering nature
We understand. We like traveling too,
From land to land, across oceans and continents
Like a pair of albatrosses in flight.

Yours always and always,

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