Saturday, April 12, 2014
Beside a beaten blacktop road in Kansas,
at the muddy edges of a shallow pond—
four sandhill cranes.
They punctuate the rim of the wet oval
with a peculiar regularity, spread apart
with some twelve feet between each.
The brown pond might be a round table
made of oak or maple or sycamore,
around which this quartet has met.
They lean their scarlet faces slightly forward,
adjusting their feathery elbows on the table
and gazing down their beaks at one another.
They might be here to settle a last will,
or discussing last night's ball game before
the boss enters the important board meeting.
Or maybe this is a diplomatic assembly,
its purpose to decide what to do about the
neighboring whippoorwills' ceaseless banter.
Whatever the issue had been, suddenly
it is resolved now, all taken care of.
One concedes, and the affair is over.
Simultaneously, eight wide wings unsettle
the dark water and lift the birds skyward.
Their meeting adjourned, they scatter apart
into the gray air, then come together again,
like the raindrops now joining together and
forming a tiny rivulet on the