In the Works
by Moira Linehan
Clamped crosswise in the heron’s bill—a sunfish,
squirming to get free. At least an hour
the great blue had stared into the pond,
watching for it to show. Will now stand as statue
until it stops. But even then, won’t eat,
will first lower the fish back into the water
to make sure not a tremor of breath’s left.
Or is it to rinse death’s smell from its scales?
What’s ever clear? A bird’s daily devotions,
like this one: flip the fish lengthwise, slide it whole
down each inch of its long elongated
throat. An afterlife, already in the works:
fish into heron. And I, too, the bird
lifting wings, lifting them, lifting from this
narrow yard. I, too, taking to the sky.
Moira Linehan is the author of two collections, If No Moon and Incarnate Grace, both from Southern Illinois University Press. She lives in Winchester, MA.