You wade ditchwater
become the heron upstream
high stepping through the mud

you want to ride its back
arch arms to cup slowly beating wings
lock knees, legs stretched behind
in a perfect line across the sky

its gullet weighted by fingerlings
from the canals, the two of you will
glide onto the flooded fields
slide into the water, your dismount
awkward at best in this ponded river

On the way to Lawrence, the heronry
now hidden by giant leaves fastened
to the white arms of sycamore holds
a flock perching near giant twig nests
S shaped necks tucked in and head
crests waving in the wind as young
beg for food before nodding off

You see it all reflected above the
swirling snails and night crawlers
death beneath your feet but beside you
this spirit bird seining, seeking and
without thinking you reach out
lay your hand upon its silken blue
and you’re just looking at your hand
in the middle of a field, knee deep
in ditchwater while overhead the
slow beating of wings writes goodbye.