The Heron on the Roof


The heron on the roof must wonder
What wrong turn it took
To find itself standing
On tar and gravel
High in the air
Instead of in the soft mud
Of a reedy marsh
Full of frogs and fishes
But trying to make the best
Of a bad situation
It scans the neighborhood
Looking for some congenial spot
Where it can refresh itself
And get a bite to eat
When it notices the small front-yard pond
With a pink flamingo
Standing next to it
And perhaps anticipating a comradely encounter
It spreads its great wings
Steps into thin air
And glides down to the sidewalk
Bordering the pond
But before it can introduce itself
To its avian kin
So admirably still
Among cement toads and garden gnomes
It is startled by a passing car
And a pair of approaching skateboarders
Prompting its sudden ascent
Into the azure afternoon
Soaring above houses and wooded hills
To reconnoiter the landscape
For a location more suited
To a long-legged wader
While the pink flamingo
Remains steadfastly on duty beside the pond
Doing the job it was hired to do

By Buff Whitman-Bradley


Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Front Range Review, Hawai’i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesday, Watershed Review, and others. He has published several collections of poems, most recently, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World. His interviews with soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan became the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

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