There is a pond beside a landfill site
grown over fifty years
by purposefully planted trees
where moss creeps in like infatuation
tee-peeing young sprigs,
making a new forest for the fay.
Beside that pond I have seen
a heron rise three times
(in spite of the water’s murkiness
and my mistrust of it) in total majesty
to a branch and look down
white and grey, emptying
the pond of my preconceptions.
I do not yet know the ways of herons,
whether beneath swirling miasmas
of algae there can be fish,
why I always catch her departing,
freeze framed in the corner of my eye.
Nor why this time I saw two feathers
fall softly as gifts on the walkway
where I feared I’d slip and belong
to the pond. This was no trick
but two pieces of the plumage
close to her heart.
This happening changed the place
the way a kaleidoscope turns,
dissolving a scene
by shaking restless debris
underneath. The heron knew
what was in the pond and forest,
that places hurt and liminal
need magic. She re-made it
by the touch of two feathers
in an unexpecting hand.
From now I’ll see that pond
with the generosity of a heron’s eye.