Great Blue Heron

Not really blue. Not really great, either:
just tall, and stilted, less beautiful
than striking. But still, I always stop.
I watch it the way I watch the work cranes
swinging over Cambridge, absurd
amidst the college spires, the chapels,
the old cloud of God. I watch the way
I watch the last choirboy trailing out
of King’s, the one who is unloved,
who stumbles on his robes, clutching
his grubby book of psalms. Night
after night, I stop my bike before
the same staggered scene: the slow lurch
of the bird toward the river, the boy
going still at the end of the line. I watch
as if I am not part of it. Or as if I can find
some sense in it, wandering these streets,
all this darkening December: I, who am both
and neither, another stranger in this land.

Cleaning the Apartment

Everywhere the settled look of another person’s life.
………….The sink: shiny-walled again, lush with the loss

of spoons. The shawl: unhooked from its dreaming tangle,
………….draped anew on the mattress edge. Wrappers binned, cups

cupboarded, glasses repaired to their standing line.
………….Even the bathroom freed of the body, blood unspotted

on the toilet bowl, hair pulled off the tile, nothing
………….in the drain at all but the silver mesh of its own passing.

Only the touch of the curtain, now and then, against
………….the window, like a diver on a board, or a bride held