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When startled, a great blue heron gives three harsh squawks of alarm before flying away.

Each morning at pond’s edge, a great blue heron stands
on one leg, wind-ruffling water and curtsying grasses
a counterpoint to its yogic stillness.
A kingfisher darts from the willow,
vultures navigate airy highways,
songbirds sing avian hymns.
We imagine them in bliss.

Until a squall of ducks arrive
followed by a blizzard of Canada geese,
flattening pondside rushes under wide waddling feet,
squawking away fish and tadpoles,
their gooey poo making the grass a foul slip-n-slide.
The heron hasn’t returned in weeks.

For us, bliss is the complicated aroma
of our favorite Indian restaurant.
Kingfisher beer poured, pakoras dipped
in chutney, tandoori entrees so good
belching is a welcome reminder.

Until people tell people tell people
and backsides fill every chair.
We taste a frantic kitchen in cold naan,
bland shasklick, burned dal,
malai kofta too oil-soaked
to eat. We’re glad for their coffers,
sorry for our bellies, miss the waiter
now too busy to linger at our table.
We come three more times,
till it’s no longer a haven,
then slam car doors shut
and flee to some farther bliss.

 


Laura Grace Weldon is the author of poetry collections Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019) and Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013), and as well as a handbook of alternative education titled Free Range Learning (Hohm Press, 2010). Her background includes teaching nonviolence workshops, writing collaborative poetry with nursing home residents, and facilitating support groups for abuse survivors. She works as a book editor and teaches community writing classes. Connnect with her at lauragraceweldon.com.

© 2019, Laura Grace Weldon

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