Scoundrel Time

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

The girl is alive—someone caught her
on video. The girl is alive, alive alive,
the women who fed her one night

cackled at that glimpse of her
face in the freezing forest and I
heard them toast her wild will. How

we accepted such things
when we were girls, but why should
a person expect a group of men might

toss her into a truck, that anyone seeing
her small body walking by should
talk about it unpunished, a joke?

The sun rises slowly over my neighbor’s
back garden, where her sons rehearse
whack whack slap shots and their old

dog Lola quivers on the porch, and soon
my daughter will stagger towards us
forgetful, full of beauty and

future pain. When the nesting herons
who make such a racket at dusk took
over the stone pine, we’d find small

dropped frogs and fish on the street.
A chick had fallen too, long-legged,
speckled, and running. Its mother followed,

relentless and with shrieking
from the trees. So I ask you, what to do
today. Dress, commute, cook, repeat?




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