the Night Heron

by Brenda Roper


You move slow dragging the broom across

19th century cobblestones dark as death.

Solid.  Quietly the framed photographs back

in their place on the chest where they do not sing

softly, the lovely oak grains dull until you dust them

carefully, dust those images that do not reflect.

You move slow as grief, lazily, like mist in morning.


A missive whispers ink stained stories –a woman

between two men, a helicopter that did not crash

a mother and her daughter sharing wine in summer

their glasses glow, faces glow bigger for the camera.

Friends lost and found, lovers gathered and grown.

A moment.  Chickens and children of the depression,

a doll loved to death.  Red velvet cake with candles

make a wish. No dust gathers at the kitchen sink.


You do not wish to wake your daughter’s dream

if still sleeping Sunday morning.  A long winter’s nap

not undone when light returns too slowly for some.

Too quickly for others.  You wait.  Grief is not consistent.

Not a calendar nor moon nor star visible in a sober sky

no answers, only wind—a gentle tale, a soft caress,

the furies of the devil roar no mercy, hot as sin

or a ripple as silent a fly on the water —


a night heron all day for hours stalking the high tide line.



Brenda Roper spent over 20 years in Alaska before moving to the oldest artist colony on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.  She indulges her creative life by crossing borders, painting large, writing small and taking photos to mark her path.  Her work is published in Cirque, A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim and Calyx, A Journal of Art & Literature by Women. Visit her recent Art & Musings blog at www.contemporaryartinsantafe.com.


Art by Mel Blossom


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