Home > Animals in the City > the egrets come to Downey

the egrets come to Downey

May 16, 2013

by Lorine Parks

necks curved       wings slowly flapping
the snowy egrets at dusk
circle the tallest tree on the block

the egrets glide to the branches
content with the morning’s breakfast
fish speared from the wet cement river bed
and snacks pricked out of ponds on the golf courses
they perceive this suburb as safety
compared to the wild salt marsh and the foxes
now closing their wings and folding themselves
like compressing gawky coat hangers
into small white bundles of laundry
they croak and wulla and chuck goodnight

suddenly down the street comes rat-a-tat-tat
a boy with a string of fireworks saved since July
the birds rise     startled       indignant
but then they come circling back       only a boy
re-settle their legs       excepting two sentinels
erect as white candles

slowly over the sunset horizon
an immense blue ball climbs into the May sky
a wayward balloon     it hangs there
menacing in its silence
these birds will not stay
to be harassed any longer       twice frightened
these birds have standards       they demand respect
this time when the egrets scramble
they will take their plumage
to a better perch

beauty is fleeting
coming back only as memory
leaving the tree
so briefly inhabited

an egret is not any more beautiful to another egret
than it needs to be
only humans can separate beauty
from the passing elements of sexual selection
Yosemite’s Half Dome the quantum theory
they are beautiful they will not have babies

birds cannot comprehend taking time out for zen
they might get ambushed by a boy with a pop gun
but for humans       beauty must be
more than the stock market report

it rests in the longing for that
which could not be saved
from the pale blue balloon


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Lorine Parks (website) lives in Southern California and has just published a book of poems, Catalina Eddy, which is about the weather in the same way that the Broadway musical Cats is about cats.

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  1. terry fernando newton
    May 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

    ms.parks, writes with feelings and insight you will see more work from her as there is more demand for her work.

  2. Judith Terzi
    May 16, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Love the images, Lorine. Thanks.

  3. jeanie
    May 16, 2013 at 11:59 am

    this is beautiful

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