Written By: Merridawn Duckler
Don’t handle them, because they can spear with great precision,
stabbing both small aquatic animals and those
who build the magnificent bridges
and sky cathedrals.
And don’t follow them because they like deep water,
dripping elegance on their bent backwards stick legs
eating all the eelgrass in the eelgrass beds
and rising with a sound like an old man, groaning into bed,
making us miss dearly all our old men.
Please don’t forget they rub their bellies with a special un-sliming powder
and can fly for miles launched like an atomic ballerina,
on perfect pointe. We could wait on the banks of St. John’s
for one to land, dripping blue paint, looking to feather a great nest
for their young who emerge semi-altricial, like dryer lint
if your dryer lint has a mad yellow eye with a single black, black orb
and a Mohawk.
But don’t interrogate them for they have no predators,
and in the Ark walked freely. They have not forgotten the fine hats.
They have spoken against extinction. They have no feather for you.
However, you may be their subject. I see your eyes are gifted like that.
Painter of blue heron: their neck is the question and the body is the answer.
Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright and prose writer from Portland, Oregon. Recent poetry in TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Blast Furnace, Zone 3, The Psychoanalytic Review forthcoming from The Offing, The Meadow, Rivet. She was runner-up for the 2014 poetry residency at the Arizona Poetry Center, judged by Farid Matuk.
Her manuscript “Same Moon, New Sky” was a finalist in the 2016 Brooklyn-based Center for Book Arts contest. Recent prose in Poetica and Defenestration. She was a finalist for the 2016 Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship.
Her play in verse was in the Emerging Female Playwright Festival of the Manhattan Shakespeare Project. Other plays have been performed in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Valdez, Alaska.
Fellowships/awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference with Billy Collins, others. She is an editor at Narrative and at the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.