Late afternoon, the last nesting pair
of loons ranges most of this westward
cove, schooling its offspring in diving
awareness, today highlighting the spectacle
made by the father rising from the water
and beating his wings to distract potential
threats so his family can dive and emerge
unexpectedly off in the distance. Even
when nothing dramatic happens, you can
see patterns, the instruction, how the
parents move to cover the angles.

Further east, the heron slides through reeds
like liquid, then two dimensions, folding
and unfolding its legs as if they’re still
too long. Unlike the loons, it moves
eccentrically and alone. Motionless, it
could be scenery into which the osprey
descends, holding its line until, overhead,
we’re sure of what we’re seeing—wing
span, head shape—briefly etch its arc
through the air. Only the loons merge
and divide, were born to move together.


Scott Davidson has had poems published in Southwest Review, Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing, trampset, Terrain.org, and the Permanent Press anthology Crossing the River: Poets of the Western United States.

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