A heron walks across the yard,
dusky blue against a milk-white sky.
The neck extends and retracts
as each twig leg folds back,
reaches forward. Her toes curl,
splay, each step weighed
so as not to alarm a blade of grass.

She freezes, a soft shiver
in the tail feathers before that fist
of a torso, that flexed neck
all muscle, lowers, lunges
and a vole yanked from its burrow
twists and shakes to be free
in a shudder of dust.

Clamping down harder
the heron paces,
lets the small body exhaust itself.
Only then does the beak let go
grabbing the dazed vole
before it hits the ground.
One swoop positions it
head first.

The river keeps on, insisting
everything to God is good,
and I must swallow inequity whole.

First published in Songs By Heart Iris Press 2018