How My Father Came By the Name of Cuthbert
A girl who would become a saint
 
sat without oars 
 
in a boat of hide—a coracle—
 
and waited for the gulls
 
to feed her fish. One bird
 
in particular would often take the gold-red hair
 
escaped from her braids
 
into its beak and work it back 
 
into place.  The boat floated up the firth
 
and when it was time for the girl
 
to give birth,  she cupped her hands 
 
into the water and aimed toward 
 
land through the center of each wave.
 
The beach where she lay after the boy
 
was born was called Culross.  The mute 
 
sometimes uttered words when walking
 
there; irrational folk experienced 
 
flashes of reason wandering that shore. 
 
And Mungo, the son, as an adult, 
 
became known by our crowd for bringing
 
my poor pet redbird back from the dead.
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