This poem is part of CavanKerry’s series for National Poetry Month. Every day in April, we post a poem from our community of writers.
The Great Blue Heron
by Wanda S. Praisner
A heavy downpour, no one in the park,
not even the heron, as raindrops pock
the glass pond into one of those bubbled
& rippled windows you see
but can’t see through, but it clears
as I leave, when I spot the heron
in the distance, statue-like in water,
only an inch or so in size,
its ghostly silhouette the color of low clouds
in tall trees, its neck like the crook
of my brother’s cane he can’t use now
in the nursing home—six months since he
could stand—the bird still & patient,
waiting to strike, like death,
with us from first inhale to last,
like the smell of our bodies
without benefit of powder, lotion, cologne—
& sensing my presence, the Great Blue lifts up
& beyond where I can see.
Wanda S. Praisner, a recipient of Poetry Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, is the author of Sometimes When Something Is Singing (Antrim House, 2014), Where the Dead Are (CavanKerry), A Fine and Bitter Snow (Palanquin Press, UCSA, 2003) and On the Bittersweet Avenues of Pomona (winner of the Spire Press Poetry Chapbook Competition, 2005). Winner of The Devil’s Millhopper Kudzu Prize, The Maryland Poetry Review’s Egan Memorial Award, and First Prize in Poetry at the College of New Jersey’s Writers’ Conference, she has been nominated ten times for a Pushcart Prize. A retired educator, she is a Poet in Residence for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She lives with her husband in Bedminster, New Jersey.