Heron’s Migration

she rides the green cloud
across the land, a blue heron
casting lines toward astral shoulders

no one told her that those lights
were far away

blue stars,
they look like those wet places
from mother’s lore on nested evenings
when hunger was fireless
and her young beak had yet
to show holes

who wants to leave home . . .
but . . . ?

her ankles, no longer deep
in lagoonish brack, her toes
no longer scalded against mud
now full of frogcorpse,
they rise to cloudfloat
on a dare for survival,
refusing at last to eat death
where gills sizzle and fins flip
in the burn of dragonfly bones
in our pond of once-fond memories
that she is leaving in lonely exodus
as twilight paves the sky
toward her only possible future


© J. Celan Smith