Lakeside Condo with View

of 8th Hole and Sand Traps



To rise


with sun

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.



To aim


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

and then

sand blast a way out; scratchy particles stick to sweat

golf buddies watch, side-glance down

while humiliation is raked smooth.



To pray


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.