A new poem by Eric Ormsby


Some Birds

1
Observe that heron’s hyperbolic stride,
the sinister way in which it seems to glide
on underwater rollerblades until
it halts and leans to peep across the sill
of the cattails and hypodermics its kill —
speared bullfrog or a bream. The great blue
is terrible and righteous when it pierces,
a marshy critic with a malice-javelin
deflating the fat white bellies of its catch.
I loath, yet am infatuated with, that heron.

2
The gallinules will shame me for my ponderous
approach to life. They have a buoyant levity
as they paddle plumply on the rank canal.
I hope to apply against my debacles
their aqueous placidity. Their horned feet
trundle the muddy depths to keep afloat.

3
Anhinga rookeries with their
brash, almost crackly chatter
set my arm-hairs on edge and give me
the gags,— that putrescent glitter
of fish-skin against gray twig,
under the leisurely parade of
self-important cumulus, leaves a
tufted taste in the mouth.