The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday and Mount Vernon Lambs

No Heron
By Fleda Brown

Herons are bigger than egrets, though they have the same long legs.
My father said one with an eight-foot wingspan flew over his boat.
I would like to be shadowed by something that big. It would seem

like poetry, just out of reach, moving and making a bare flush
of wings, and I would think of it long after, the way it was heading
away from me. My longing would not be satisfied even if I could

grab its scrawny legs in my hand, even if it nuzzled up to me.
I would be looking up the origin of heron with my free hand, and
when I read Greek, to creak, and Old High German, to scream,

I would wait for it to begin, but it would not say anything to me
in this boat which I am not in, but at my desk hoping for the heron,
a big one, as I said, so I can say, "Wow, look at that!" as if I were

getting up a circus. Out there are herons white and blue, not really
blue but smoky, with wings bigger than their bodies, dipping and
standing motionless beside lakes and rivers. Out there are universes

expanding until the space between atoms is too far to do anyone
any good. Thus, somewhere this minute one heron is calculating
the distance between his beak and a fish, the way it shifts. It is

as if he travels in space until heron and fish are swallowed into
each other. There is no heron at my desk. In fact, the absence
of heron is how I would define my study: no heron on the ceiling,

no heron on the floor, no heron on the wall, so that of course
I think of nothing but heron, how it floats its weight on one leg,
for example, flying that way even when it's not.


It was another gorgeous mid-70s day for Ostara and the first full day of spring, and we spent most of it at Mount Vernon, where we met dementordelta and walked nearly the entire public grounds. We did the house tour, which was a bit rushed since there were so many people on the estate (I think spring break was a factor as well as the weather); then we went to see the new smithy, the kitchens and work buildings, the slave quarters (which were partially closed for renovations), the upper and lower gardens, Washington's grave, the colonial farm, the slave cabin, and all the animals including cattle (whose calves were in the rear fields but we could see them from near the smithy), pigs, chickens, and lots of lambs:


My evening would have been great too if I had not turned on the television. We came home to the news that Maryland had lost to Michigan State and the Terrapins were out of the NCAA tournament -- hey, at least Cornell won. I always crave peanut soup after visiting Mount Vernon because the restaurant there has terrific peanut soup, so apaulled indulged me and made it for dinner. Then we watched Desperate Housewives to see John Barrowman, who is playing a really, really creepy character, which he does very well, but I'm completely out of the loop on the show and will finally admit that I really can't stand Teri Hatcher -- she plays a bitch who's too much of an idiot to realize she's a bitch, so she tries to maintain her self-image as a nice person by manipulating other people, and it just makes me loathe her. As for the rest, I haven't cared about Bree, Lynette, or Gabrielle in years, and I don't know anyone else.

A couple of days ago I came within hours of leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent over this "deemed passage" anti-Constitutional nonsense, and now they've passed a health care bill that benefits insurance company donors as much as individuals and will restrict reproductive health care. Don't look for any cheerleading from me. I can't stand what the Republican Party has become, but the Democratic Party is so much about ego and money and compromising away what should be core principles to hold on to the other two...ugh, I can't listen to most of them. As I said when people said idiotic things to me a couple of years ago for announcing that I was voting for Clinton over Obama in the primary, I have really had it with being told that women must once again take one for the team for the good of everyone. Now I'm thisclose to quitting the team.

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