Jessica Jewell

The Great Blue Heron at the Retention Pond

nev­er fills me with sad­ness when I see him wading
there alone among the cat­tails. Filled with aspiration.
Filled with tiny, fat-head­ed min­nows pop­ping up
and down in the water like a gen­tle falling rain.

He goes about pluck­ing them from the brown-
bot­tomed lake fail. Stuffing his throat full
for his hatch­lings a few weeks out of blue shells
and wait­ing for him. Still, I know he owns his life

of soli­tude, morn­ings stuff­ing his cheeks with fish
and car­ry­ing sticks to his gal who is always nest-
build­ing. Solitude and his part­ner and the nest and six
blue eggs. I snap a few pho­tographs: Heron against cattails.

Heron shad­ow scal­ing morn­ing mist. The con­do pool
chairs buck­led from last night’s par­ty and somehow:
Heron, wad­ing with­out a fuck­ing care in the world—never
once filled me with lone­li­ness as the lone­li­ness I filled up on

this morn­ing walk­ing my dog around the pond, we came upon
one sin­gle Mallard drake float­ing along the shoreline.
So con­sumed, I was, with lone­li­ness. But what’s different
about those two birds? Why do I imag­ine one is hap­py alone

and the oth­er isn’t? Later in the week I saw him walking
a sin­gle line up and down the fence next to the ten­nis court
and I could’ve start­ed cry­ing, if I were the kind to cry.
I don’t know a thing about Mallard drakes or hens or hatchlings.

Little duck, bright green head bent in offer­ing toward the storm
water, bent toward some fish he won’t catch, I thought. The girl
from the con­do dis­rupt­ing the morn­ing alone, splash­ing in a pool,
bent chairs, storm and storm waters, hun­gry fox stalk­ing the cattails.


Jessica Jewell is the pro­gram coör­di­na­tor for the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University. Her poet­ry has appeared or is forth­com­ing in Nimrod, The American Poetry Journal, Harpur Palate, Copper Nickel, Rhino, Barn Owl Review and Poetry Midwest, among oth­ers. Her chap­book, Slap Leather, was pub­lished by danc­ing girl press in 2011.