Sunday, February 18, 2018

Missing herons

I saw a heron yesterday --
painted on a canvas, hanging on a wall,
glimpsed through a store window --
and keep thinking of the herons
on the beach I used to walk,
and the reams and reams of photos that I took.
Their tiny feathers, fluttering in the wind,
their ungainly legs,
straight, or bent at the knees,
their distinctive stiletto beaks,
stabbing into the water, lifting
wriggling fish to swallow in a gulp,
their massive wings and graceful flight,
the harshness of their cry,
and something in me,
terrified of trying to paint the real,
is aching to recreate those memories on canvas;
bold strokes and thin, all clustered
on the right side of the page
to declare the presence -- no, return --
of the heron, absent now from my daily view
(having moved into the forest);
to fill the void on the canvas
and my empty field of vision
with their raucous, guttural cries.

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