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Buff Whitman-Bradley


Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poetry has appeared in many print and online journals. His latest book is Crows with Bad Writing. He podcasts poems reflecting on aging, memory, and mortality, at He lives in northern California with his wife, Cynthia.

The heron could be lost

The heron could be lost.
It has flown slowly back and forth
Over the house
For the past two or three days
As if looking for a pond
Or a friend
Or both.
If so, it is not likely
To find satisfaction hereabouts.
We are in the midst
Of the sere, parched
Desiccated days of August
And standing water is a mere figment
Of dusty-throated memory.
And as for an amigo
Well, the most we can offer
Are the two flamingos
Standing stolidly
Among the gnomes and toads
Beside the neighbor’s emptied fountain
Erect and unmoving
And not even remotely convivial.
Or perhaps the heron is not lost at all
Perhaps it is a greatly curious bird
Embarked upon an excursion
To explore the wide world
Beyond its marshland home
Of reeds and muck and mire.
Whatever the reasons for its passing overhead
We are grateful for the flyby
And eager for frequent returns.
We live in an uncertaln world
And precarious times.
For example
Because of rainless weather
And increasingly extreme heat
Every day and night for the next few months
We will not stop worrying
About catastrophic conflagrations
Roaring hungrily down the forested mountain
To devour our homes.
The wild and ancient grace
Of a heron in flight
Is a reminder
That we must dare to take heart
And an emblem
Of all that could be lost.
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