That Old Way of Clearing Land

By Clyde Kessler

A green heron finds a muddy creek

and it clacks through willows, its perch

is splotched into fog. My father names it

shytepoke, and says it jabs a sucker fish

and downs it quicker than a starved snake.


The skew of its cry owns the sycamores,

the rude eyes are squinching a watery sun,

its quirky wings have hunched into the shade.

This morning we burn its nest from last summer

like an island bruised against a thunderhead.


Clyde Kessler is a founding member of Blue Ridge Discovery Center, a new outdoor history and natural history education organization in Virginia and North Carolina. The BRDC blog celebrates the natural environment and the importance of discovery:

Clyde resides in Radford, VA with wife Kendall, and their son Alan. He has published poems in several print and online journals, most recently in Amarillo Bay, Barnwood, Bolts of Silk, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Flutter.

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