The white faced heron, how does it do
that rope trick with the neck?
The gradual retreat along an S-bend
that ends, remarkably, in the profile of a duck,
tucked in plumb with the body’s boat shape,
a horizontal hull dry docked on a gantry
of spindle legs, so the bird’s head becomes
a figure head on the prow of a yawl or sloop.
Then, like a signal hoisting up a flagpole,
the sequencing resumes, a growing curve
of craning until the head is fully up,
the lookout in the topmast, alert to the entire world.
And return, the versatile beak reaching back
to preen and careen in twists and loops
neat as cable on a mariner’s deck,
no feather out of reach. You wonder
if the bird unlaunched within the egg
might entirely stitch itself together,
adept as a sail maker with canvas, thread and awl,
a small miracle, like a ship inside a bottle.