BLUE HERON MOON

    Alright,
long have I known your cry
in the dusky half-light
between sleep and dawn,
    winging low;
    you, yes you,
spawn of the pterodactyl
with the throaty voice and piercing beak.
    Awkward flyer.
    Stilt walker.
    Frog-eater.
    Fish stalker.
Solitary contemplator of horizons.
   
I saw you whirling snakes
over your head like a baton tosser.
I saw you spearing the bellies
of fish too fat to eat.
I saw you taking the grace of the sun
    on a bleached morning,
wings shaking in the ecstatic glow.
I saw you step swiftly aside
    when the eagle ripped
    your prey from the long hunt.
Giant bird,
awkward ballerina,
the lonely one,
old man of the water,
old woman of the sea caves,
born old in the nest, eager to be alone,
staring at the moon as if you owned it.

    They say that natures makes a harmony;
    well, I don't believe it. I have seen your ghost
    in my dreams and sometimes in my nightmares --
    the endless snake sliding down your throat,
    that hilarious windup into flight -- bird
    with a voice like an indignant bullfrog
        that's been stepped on.

The precious god of patience,
the one who waits
even as your world is whittled down --
the ponds broken into landfill and subdivisions,
lakes roaring with jet skiers,
the oceans polluted and empty.
First child of the dinosaurs
Where will you go now?
Old one.
    In the rain
    you resemble
an ancient Taoist sage on a bad hair day,
a bipedal billy goat fixated on an enemy tin can,
a skinny Englishman without his umbrella --
the bony, hard edges of wisdom
that come from days of staring at water;
    a shade of blue
like the sky before the sun arrives;
    you resemble
all the memories I had of a world
when that world was wild.


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