Saturday Jun 22

NicoleRobinson Nicole Robinson’s recent poems have appeared in Artful Dodge, The Fourth River, Great River Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She has received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for poetry, and is the author of a chapbook of poems, The Slop of Giving in, The Melt of Letting Go (2008, p2b press). She is currently the writer-in-residence at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio.

Body of the Great Blue Heron

Body of the great blue heron, mostly grey, body of morning,
body to hold the torrent of water and stillness of land,

body with gravity and flight, and who doesn’t love
a contradiction? Body of neck, length of a snake, body

with a dagger for a bill and barrel for torso. What do we hold
in our chests? Blood and an exhale we can’t let go, memory

and muscle, a whole body of breath. Heron’s got a body
of hollow bones. What lives inside that space?

Is that where the soul lives, in whatever cavity
it can find? Is that our soul when we’re alone that thuds

in our chest against the breast bone? Heron’s body of feather
and fringed claw is a body beside a colony of bodies

who prefers to forage alone in whatever body of water
it can find. Body of salt, body of freshwater, body with legs

disappearing underwater. The heron will defend
its feeding territory: throw its wings open, tilt its head back,

point its bill toward sky, and stretch itself
as large as it can, a body of belief. It will lift

with one flap of its wings, carry its body through the body of sky.