Night Herons



By day at the marsh

droll waiters wait

seeming asleep

‘til night

to fly

from pondside roosts

invisible bearers

of death


their funerary finery

grudgingly displayed;

green-black watch-cap pulled

low into shoulders

hunched and brooding

showy-crown of plumes

discreetly smoothed down

cold, denying.


At night by the lake

dark waders wade

silent sentries

for fish

that flash

from bottom silt

secret black-beak lighting



their strike-toss-swallow single-sound

silhouette of stealth;

stalking rats along

shores of treasure-trash

bait, abated

gullet and gizzard

working to grizzly

and lethal effect.