In a suburban backyard, green-garlanded dark
and creekshine—in the case of Light vs. Dark,
the verdict is this summer night. Unexpectedly,

light-pleated wings shawl a bird out of place here.
A black crowned night heron stands in the runoff.
Uphill in the backyard, I’m feeding a fat raccoon.

I’m out tonight and so a witness to the tourist bird,
its stocky body unheron-like. I had never seen one.
Beautiful and present then just a shadow and gone.

I went to pocket for an iPhone and came up empty-
handed. Sure, maybe I said, Shit. But the point is,
a raccoon got a bellyful of Whole Foods salmon.

I got that sudden, resonant whirring of wings.
I got this world summoning the next and next.

Roy Bentley is the author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City, chosen by Billy Collins as a finalist for the Miller Williams prize; Starlight Taxi, winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize; The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana, chosen by John Gallaher as winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize; as well as My Mother’s Red Ford: New & Selected Poems 1986 – 2020 published by Lost Horse Press. 

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