By the river, a great smudge of dusky bird
abruptly separates from the oak—
a bald eagle, beating at the breeze. I break
into a jog. Where river meets creek
he wheels, heads north on the lesser current,
alights upstream. I slow my pace.
Herons spill from the reeds,
cards peeling off a deck,
rasping as they cut the air. A pair
of ospreys startle, cree, swoop. I scurry on
past cardinals red-flagging the bank
like words refusing to be blocked —
faithful so long as we both— I veer
to follow the creek. That’s when I see,
high in a sycamore, the eagle’s nest—
I spot his hulk above the knitted sticks. He lifts,
flaunts north— no eagle, but a buzzard, bizarre
as in a carnival mirror, bamboozling the day
like an old pipedream.
Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll’s book Grace Only Follows won the 2010 National Federation of Press Women Contest and was a finalist for Drake University’s 2012 Emerging Writer Prize. Her poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Passager, Caesura, Controlled Burn, and received a Pushcart Prize nomination. She’s a retired piano teacher.