by Melinda Cadwallader
From the start, this heron was a “he”
a Charlie, Henry, Richard, some old sport
(moved me appropriately)
a stately being, I suppose.
We settled on Charles.
After the first encounter, it was always,
“Oh, Charles, there you are! I’ve been looking for you all day!”
I’d say, with the tone of a martini in one hand, cigarette in the other.
He’d barely look up -
but not in a rude way.
I felt he acknowledged me
to some degree.
“Hello, dear.” He’d murmur, his sight fixed on the pond,
reading it like the Wall Street Journal.
I imagined he sipped brandy in the evening,
his cool blue feathers a smoking jacket
horn rimmed glasses, of course,
a pipe, perhaps.
So confident, my Charles,
and quite enjoys his solitude,
not alarmed or skittish, when someone, something, new
arrived on the scene.
As for me,
perhaps he sensed my wonder
accepted the invitation of intuition
leading me to him morning upon morning
trusting the innocence of my gaze.
I always kept my distance - in the beginning at least,
admiring from afar, endowed
with his elusive presence.
Who am I, that I should be chosen
to bear witness to this grande sir.
Sir Charles, if you will.
On one particular evening,
I found him perched on an extended branch
of a pine tree, overlooking his pond
just after sunset, his form an indigo outline,
a shadowy essence of a blues musician
most certainly vinyl art
giving off saxophone vibes
Hat tilted forward, resting on a strong brow -
Oh, can we please talk about his brows!
Vibrant teal streaks encasing sharp eyes,
jetting across a narrow face, a poignant expression.
When lowering his head, white plumes pop like jazz hands,
returning upright, they slide back into formation,
a peek of his sleek style,
gel slicked coif.
Sir Charles operates only in one mode: cool.
Aloof, he never makes plans, never commits,
never could offer me an RSVP
but when he does arrive - he changes the atmosphere.
Everyone knows he’s there.
Out of utmost respect the pond, and everyone in it, responds
“We see you, Charles.” And when he wants to,
on his own accord,
make some kind of gesture, eye contact - you’d be flattered,
but be the first to look away, so he doesn't see how desperate you are
for his effortless acknowledgement.
Bored at signs of desperation, Charles takes off
In a slow wingbeat, looking back at me,
“Later, sweetheart” - I imagine.
It does feel like he’s flirting with me - at times -
perhaps a summer romance
knows no boundaries