Empty Nest

Empty Nest

If I move my eyes too quick 

I can’t see him—blended against water 

and stone. Sunlight outlines 

the shaggy beard of feathers, 

clumps of leaves gather and catch 

against his Heron legs, thin as sticks. 

He is maybe watching me,

and I try not to wonder 

at his Heron trick of stillness— 

not just how he catches

but how he stays uncaught, 

how he holds off the big cats, 

or the foxes—or the human kind

of cruelty that hurts things just because.

There was one once, down by the bridge 

where my sons and I used to stop to look, 

for turtles or frogs, water bugs, 

when they were little, 

and always with me— 

it took my eyes too long 

to fasten and acknowledge 

that it wasn’t rope or rag 

but feathers and bone.  

A part of me wants 

to startle this one,

see him push up and open out

into the space of grey sky above us— 

above me—an umbrella 

that won’t quite open.

What are you looking for?