Day 19. Out of Place

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Egret in the ditch–

Beside the save-a-center

Sorry for your loss

Mary Oliver has this poem I adore about egrets. The speaker labors to get to a little pond where she sees three of them take off into a “shower of white fire.” I see egrets, one in particular, on the side of the highway I drive every Monday and Wednesday when I take my son to karate. And every time I see him, I think, you belong somewhere else. When I see you, I’m the one who should feel out of place. Egrets have always held a certain magic for me, and when I see this one, it’s like seeing Starry Night at a garage sale. 

I’ve been working on a poem about that little guy. Can’t say it’s finished, but it’ll have to do. It’s a start.

Egrets

In Mary Oliver’s poems

egrets are lights in dark but beautiful places 

With great effort you get to behold them

 

I see them in ditches that 

Separate highway from stripmall

 

Hunting (which is waiting)

patiently in shallow water

SUVs a blur of loud non-color

Suddenly stop beside them

Waiting, too,

But only for the light to change

 

What world did you come from?

What world have you outlasted?

Where the poet is out of place

Watching with the bruised and scratched limbs

That brought her to your 

 

Vast expanse of lake or swamp or pond

She, not pausing in traffic

But in awe. 

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Denise Hopkins

January 19, 2020

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