By Jon Fischer
Far off in a vacant field beside an irrigation
canal alights a stately gray heron
or a plastic bag. The plastic bag flaps
and in the tricky light thick clouds leave behind
trembles in and out of translucence,
just like a heron. The heron flew here from another
land in search of a plot to fill and warmly
fulfill and mute the Sisyphean rhythm of restless
creatures’ lives, across countless miles
that would never do, just like a plastic bag.
Close up it’s clear the field holds both
a stately heron and a plastic bag, each
studying the other like figure and reflection.
Now the difference is obvious. The heron’s eyes
recognize the predicament he’s in, the infernal
froglessness of all this wiregrass, the length
of the horizon, the lean of a eucalyptus. Behind
his eyes is the continent where he first
leapt into a crystalline gust, and at beak’s end wriggles
a continent uncharted, fleshly, ready to be snapped up
like a young shad. But this time of year his wings
know everything there is to know about south
and nothing else. Whereas the bag simply is
the predicament it’s in and billows
with all the joy that has ever flown through
a thousand years of wind.
Jon Fischer has lived and worked in Japan, India, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Egypt since getting his MFA from Eastern Washington University. A native of Washington State, Fischer has had his work appear in The Seattle Review, Quarterly West, Willow Springs, Cimarron Review, and several other journals.
Originally appeared in NOR 29