robert heron

great blue heron, by robert aquinas mcnally

The Romans took your name from the walled town
Aeneas torched; like smoke from ash, the first
heron lifted into flight. Life from death,
passion flaming between: this truth made flesh
when you, plumed as lavishly as Salome
in her veils, stalk the seam of silted flow
and sun-blistered earth. You stand in ambush
until time ripens to lunge, and captured
fish, frog, or snake twists in your bill’s pincers,
flashes in the light. Once it calms, you gulp
it down headfirst to stoke your hunger’s heat,
to be consumed, to become feather, croak,
bone, and wingbeat. The old story once more:
desire, fire, this daily incarnation.