Great Blue Heron

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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.