One in the community

by Nettie McDaniel


A flock of egrets twinkle like the distant stars
as they fly above the golden stubble in the rice field.

Thoughts of a soul flutter in the space above;
thoughts of the hereafter form in flight.

The road has grown so wide and empty
with things we never did, times we didn’t

have, and lots of places we’ll never go.
Norah Jones abandoned her own singing

to cry beside me from the radio.
The fields are cut. Egrets are there in masses.

They appear to be praying over the stubble.
They are standing and feeding shoulder to shoulder.

At times they fly. Many fly, and others
ignore their flight . . . remaining. I stand there too

with my own shoulders sagging . . . slumped shoulders
. . . mourning with my sisters. On the day you lay

with your eyes sewn together under a spray
of woody French mulberry, masses of egrets

stood in the cut stubble of a rice field,
each one with slumped shoulders.