“Great Blue Heron,” by John Wollwerth


Aesop. A heron walking beside a stream watches over food like a brood. A hunter of her own breakfast, she’s childless. Her neck long, eyes made cruel for stalking, she draws her head back and her bill, cocked like a clapping javelin. Streams swarm with ignorant swimmers. Crossing into their lines of sight, she is refracted there, quavering, towering, odd, dreamlike, when a small body passes through her shadow. “I wouldn’t eat you if you were the last perch on earth,” she says. “You’re too puny a morsel.” Seeing no fish whatsoever in the blinding sun, Great Fisher settles on a snail diet. Do not be too hard to please if you don’t want a mollusk for your rations.

Note to Self. The blue herons came back to Magee Marsh on the south shore of Lake Erie a week earlier than expected. They arrived at the Bath Road heronry, between Akron Peninsula and River roads, around the middle of February. They usually nest in secluded spots. The way we crowd the Earth, one wonders what all we’re getting them used to.