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The Cattle Egret

May 10, 2013

by James Brush

There’s a swagger in the way the cattle egret walks across the streets of this fenced and paved frontier, wingtips looped into his belt buckle. He won’t talk much at first, but if you get him going he’ll spin stories like country songs—beer drinkin’, cloaca kickin’ and trains beyond the horizon. He’ll tell of blue northers ripping down the plains and the time he lit a fire under a mule that hadn’t moved in two days. He waits while you imagine what a burning mule would smell like and then tells how the mule just moved over a couple feet from the fire and stayed put another two days before movin’ on. Usually, though, he just stares out past the high rises planted where longhorns used to graze, dreaming lonely dreams from another time. Maybe he even writes a song or two about the rough and tumble old birds of the past. In the evening, after a long day picking bugs off the backs of settled cows, he sends demos to Nashville and Austin hoping he’ll make it big someday.

glowing orange
the cattle egrets fly off
into the sunset

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James Brush lives in Austin, Texas. He spends a lot of time watching the local city birds some of which can be found in his recent poetry collection Birds Nobody Loves. He keeps a full list of publications at his blog Coyote Mercury.

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  1. May 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    great James. now I know why I love westerns.. must be the cattle egrets!

  2. May 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Ah, a haibun. I’m impressed. I like this, especially the way the paragraph expands like the egret telling his stories, and the haiku’s brevity like his flight off into the sunset.

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