To be a bird

The endless possibilities of heron:

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Green_Heron_-_John_J._Audubon‘Green Heron’ by John Audubon, from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum

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On the First Day She Made Birds

He asked me       if I had a choice

what kind of bird

would I choose to be.

I know what he thought I’d say

since he tried to        end

my sentences half the time

anyway. Something exotic

he thought. He thought

maybe macaw.

That would fit

all loudmouthed

and primary colored

he would think.

(He thinks too much

I always thought.)

But really       at heart

I’m more

don’t laugh now

an L B J

little brown job

except               except

I’m not the

flit        from


to        branch        type

such a waste

of energy all that

wing flap

and scritch scritch scratch.

Really now

can you see me

seed pod clamped

between my beak

like some landowner,

Havana cigar


between his teeth?

No         I think         not

I think

green heron.

You ask why?



That hunched look

wings tucked to neck

waiting        waiting

in the sun

on a wide slab of rock

alongside a slow river

like some old man

up from a bad night’s dream

where he’s seen his coffin

and you say to him

Have a nice day

and he says        Make me.

Oh          you want looks

I’ll give you


long olive green feathers

a trace of


I could stand

going out       iridescent

chestnut sides and head

a black crown

yes        a crown

something regal

to flash when you get

too close

dark bill         bright

yellow legs

and that creamy streak

down my throat and pecs


not great

but good         pecs

just enough for a quick

hop to the next.

The best part

no sexual dimorphism

male         female

both alike

endless possibilities.

by Diana Garcia


Green Heron WikiGreen Heron, Butorides virescens

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Words for bird calls:

‘The green heron’s call is a loud and sudden kyow; it also makes a series of more subdued kuk calls. During courtship, the male gives a raah-rahh call with wide-open bill, makes noisy wingbeats and whoom-whoom-whoom calls in flight, and sometimes calls roo-roo to the female before landing again. While sitting, an aaroo-aaroo courtship call is also given…’

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