I was not born here. But it’s here that we feel safe. Above the near- ly clear perpendicular rafters, each split sunbeam apportions its angles over the bald spots, scarves, bedazzled baseball caps, and effervescent water-features four stories under us, over the shadows a gaggle of us throw down when we dive for crumbs or popcorn nibs. So little we need. Why do you see me, if you do see me, not as a reason to look up, but as a bother to be removed? What harm can I do? I peck at your trash and may help carry it off; I exemplify the proactive, practically motivated hubbub and bustle that you claim to want in the young. I am visible but not heard: distracted and nearly self- sufficient introverts, I and mine never meant any trouble. We hide our eggs; we work the third shift half the time, and give your cleaners the harmless slip even before they know it … But now I think I’ve figured out what bugs you. We have seen you stretch flat rope to keep light-fingered teens away, or herd their older sisters out by closing time, and we know: you can stymie our settlements, strike our camps, let loose an undertow or wave of borax, bleach or soap around our nests, even poison our outdoor cousins; nevertheless we live here. Nothing you do can make us leave.
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