The great blue heron rides a cottonwood
limb downriver. She spins through a circle
of sunlight as her mate’s wide loops dazzle
the morning and his hoarse squawk says he would
join her if he could. He swoops close to see
again there is no room. She turns her long
neck slower than the limb turns in the strong
current, keeping him in sight as though she
imagines currents of air mimic dark
river currents she will dare when the time
comes. He moves like a dancer past his prime,
a beat slow for her and just off the mark,
but game while she waits against the measure
for a moment they can enter together.

Floyd Skloot

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 11 Number 6, on page 47
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