heron is gray, not blue, but great enough
against brown-tipped bowed cattails to be
well-named, is known for its stealth, shier
than a cloud, but won’t fly or float away
when it’s scared, stands there thinking maybe
it’s invisible though it’s not–tall, gray,
straight as a pole among the cloudy reeds.
Then it picks up one stem leg. This takes time.
And sets it down just beyond the other,
no splash, breath of a ripple, goes on
slowly across the silt, mud, algae-
throttled surface, through sedge grass,
to stand to its knees in water turning
grayer now that afternoon is evening.
Now that afternoon is evening
the gray heron turns blue, bluer than sky,
bluer than the mercury blue-black still pond.
So when did it snag the bullfrog
hanging, kicking, in its scissor beak?
To look so long means to miss the sudden.
It strides around like a sleek cat
from pond to back and back, blue tall bird,
washing the frog, banging it against stones,
pecking almost as if it doesn’t know
what to do now that it’s caught such a thing.
How fast its beak must be to shoot out
like an arrow or that certain–as it’s called–
slant of light. Blue light. Where did it go?