Lakeside Condo with View
of 8th Hole and Sand Traps
see sandhill cranes commune
feed on the green before canopied carts
and pastel shirts descend, dispersing
all in frantic flutter;
witness grand flight
in pairs, flocks, elegant long necks
wings stretched to purpose
high-pitched, rattling calls
of greetings, joy
the choreographed precision in landing;
serenely slow, supine, they mate for life
in red-capped royalty.
See the lone fishers: great white egrets,
ibis like stars shimmering in electric dawn
old man-shouldered blue heron long-legging the shoreline.
See the alligator named, “swims in morning”
launch from marsh grass with submarine stealth
glide the distance of a new day.
Every year grand houses and coral rooftops
multiply, swallow scrub and flora
yet wild things adapt
allow, invite us by grace of being to look
up from civilized rush
to not run them down, bloodied feathers
on concrete where once they fed.
well, avoid sand traps set on a slant
two oblong trenches like teardrops, designed
to ensnare every boast, proclaimed intention
each practiced swing, competitive chuckle
sand blast a way out; scratchy particles stick to sweat
golf buddies watch, side-glance down
while humiliation is raked smooth.
like the anhinga after a day of diving
snorkeling wetlands and waterways
snatching the tastiest catch to feed her young.
At dusk, a lone priestess
perched on a rock, storm drain, fence.
Golden neck snakes upward;
bat-like wings glisten, a velvet cape
flung open to dry in air still warm with sun.
Read the divinations in mink-marble-bronze
upon plumage, her back arched now
heart pressed to amber.
Catherine Arra is the author of Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press, 2014), Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press, 2015) and forthcoming in 2017, Tales of Intrigue & Plumage (FutureCycle Press). Recent poetry and prose have been published in The Timberline Review, Peacock Journal, Flash Frontier, MockingHeart Review and Sugared Water. A former English and writing teacher, Arra now teaches part-time and facilitates a local writers’ group in upstate New York.