by Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll

By the river, a great smudge of dusky bird

abruptly separates from the oak—

a bald eagle, beating at the breeze.  I break

into a jog. Where river meets creek

he wheels, heads north on the lesser current,

alights upstream.  I slow my pace.

Herons spill from the reeds,

cards peeling off a deck,

rasping as they cut the air.  A pair

of ospreys startle, cree, swoop.  I scurry on

past cardinals red-flagging the bank

like words refusing to be blocked —

faithful so long as we both—  I veer

to follow the creek.   That’s when I see,

high in a sycamore, the eagle’s nest—

I spot his hulk above the knitted sticks. He lifts,

flaunts north— no eagle, but a buzzard, bizarre

as in a carnival mirror, bamboozling the day

like an old pipedream.

Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll’s book Grace Only Follows won the 2010 National Federation of Press Women Contest and was a finalist for Drake University’s 2012 Emerging Writer Prize. Her poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Passager, Caesura, Controlled Burn, and received a Pushcart Prize nomination. She’s a retired piano teacher.