Great Blue Heron

by D.R. James

Great blue heron posturing on a log in a river

          Look, I want to love this world
          as though it’s the last chance I’m ever going to get
          to be alive
          and know it.

                              —Mary Oliver, “October”

Busy inhabiting my world—
blazing car, radio blather,
coffee buzz that wouldn’t last—

I somehow caught a left-hand glimpse,
so quick I didn’t see you flinch,
yet so outstanding, you could’ve been

a plastic cousin to the prank flamingos
that another morning
enthralled my neighbor’s lawn.

Stark still, ankle-deep
in that transitory water,
only the one side, one-eyed,

wide as disbelief, you looked
just like you looked, posed
in the Natural History Museum,

1963: for again,
all those slender angles,
the spear of your bill,

that deathless intensity
marking your stick-form way, only
now in a mid-May puddle poised

between the intersecting rushes
eastbound, 196, southbound, 31.
And you, still doing

what you’ve never known
you do, still finding your life
wherever you find yourself—

while I, still fixated as always
on finding myself,
as if that were to find a life,

saw again how wildly
I am alive—
how I always want to know it.

Category: Featured, Poetry