In shallow marsh beside the iron rails, an azure
crested, wing-tipped heron stands, unmoved by the blur of itself
writ large—azure crested Amtrak coursing low; alert instead
to small carp and green frogs. Did it catch in its complicated eye
that telescopes and microscopes in blinks right through
slippery surface glare, my open mouth in one passing square?
Eyes open day one, even if all it sees are apertures of plume.
Great blues hatch as compact chicks whose necks uncoil the evening
of their second day, extending views; actually, a folding vertebrae
equips a keen, quick hunter. Astute Ardea herodias knows where to be
to be unseen by what it wants and not, in cattails, and bluing hues;
it’s not shy about a steel predator speeding a fixed course.
At the optometrist, I, too, learned the brain chooses how it sees
(through multifocal contact lenses), the circles of remoteness and propinquity.

Wild Borough

Waterfront blushes, it’s time to leave. Low tide moves across the floor. The city opens one
puncture more. Earlier a skylight of day blue and tissue moon, metronomic mast of tethered

sailboat. Energy captivates the space, shapes my feet today when last Friday, high tide,
this flat bottom boat was as solid as a foundation. Last day visiting Lehigh 79 Railroad Barge

docked in Red Hook in a fresh, shivery April. I need the light for when I walk on Mill Street,
a fenced sidewalk with a traffic light and public service posters —What’s good Brooklyn?—

under the BQE, past a gas station, the church where Al Capone got married, and the subway
garden with its individual plots above rumbling tunnels, but I linger for persimmons and greys,

tints of thistle, slippery blue, yolk, the doors on every side open to the shifting water. The captain
and his wife visit with their daughter and her mate, talk about pizza toppings. The daughter who

used to ride bikes with her sister inside the barge, looping past the microwave and the old ship
gauges, salvaged propellers, the father who gave them separate spaces on the roof with walkie-

talkies as they grew in and out of distances. I pack my journals, pen, and water-soluble pencils.
And what’s that sound like metal scraping metal? Wing of the walkway flexing in wind? Almost

like the intake of breath on the little vaults of a harmonica. But no, it is a goose I hear speaking
out in the briefly brightening, darkening harbor free of traffic, by the wild borough’s bank.

Amy Holman is a poet and literary consultant. Her second poetry collection, Captive, will be published with Saddle Road Press, in October 2023. She writes the substack newsletter, What Where: Literary Journals, and is also one of the poetry editors at The Westchester Review. As NYC was reopening in Spring of 2021, she was recipient of an NYC Poets Afloat micro-residency on the Lehigh 79 railroad barge (Waterfront Barge Museum). Recent poems are in The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly, The Lake, The Night Heron Barks, and Nixes Mate.