In trees along the Bath Road rookery,
a siege of herons broods. Their long necks kink.
Their nests clump bare branches like flood debris.
Settling with a click in icy muck,
gray-bearded and imposing, a male impales
the air with his spiked face, snapping stems
of reeds, but wades so slowly he hardly ripples
the surface of the pond. The water steams.
We’ve never seen one so close up before—
head cocked to scan the tributary bank
with one eye toward the sky, one toward the river.
Into his own reflection, he dips his bill
and snags a frog or fish he chokes down whole,
granting us permission not to speak.