The Blue Heron & Other Poems

by Reed Venrick

The Blue Heron

This rising morning, staring into the foggy pond,
dark dreams fading with a promise of sunning,
not a cypress-feathered-leaf stirring
when out of the sky comes the sailing sound

of fine feathers, the heron landing across the pond
and strutting on the sand, gazing across at me
as if it knew, I’d never ask for more than this:
a great blue bird sailing over water–and landing.

 

Catching the Baby

At the Ueno stop
a fatigued mother entering
with two kids in tow
and one baby sleeping,

swaddled on her back
in the local style,
but on the corner called
“Taka-dano-baba Eki”

the train lurched left–slammed
screeching metal-on-metal
wheels, an engineer screaming
to stop for a suicider’s jump

sending us passengers
slamming against a metal door
then the floor, where
I saw the mother knocked
upside down, her kids rolling,

her baby flying
over her head
like from a trampoline
flying toward me
like some circus act
that I was now a part

and I an outfielder
reaching to catch
before a train’s metal edge
smashed an infant’s head

the luckiest play I ever made
in my many years of attending
Tokyo’s baseball games
caught with lucky hands

and some passengers behind
seeing my catch, clapping
but the mother rising, dazed

not seeing the lucky save

 

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