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Poetry and Medicine
May 16, 2012

Blue Heron

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

Author Affiliation: Department of English, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina (

JAMA. 2012;307(19):2007. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.462

Silky smudge against
the water, more silhouette
than real, your dusk
stillness our focus
as we walk around the lake.
You pull us out of our day,
your solitary stare
lures us, leaves us
in the middle
of your quiet eye,
aware of every motion
over and under the water,
slipping through grass and trees,
and all that floats down
in the golden waning light,
gems of bird's wing
flashing by.
We couldn't do this without you.
Even when you're gone
nesting in the rookery
we keep watch,
a happy cameo,
two people spying
turtles grouped and bobbing
their thumb-shaped heads
in shaded water;
no other thought than this,
no other need than this.

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