Upon Reclaiming a Clear Sky with Six Herons Advancing Slowly but Perfectly

for my wife on the 2020 terminus

tucked-in necks
pushing against westward
wind, reminders of strength
of nature, our
human foibles
deadly dramas

you have shrouds
rainbow serapes
layers covering so much –
father’s familial dementia
severe religious dogma
a sister’s daily protection
as you held back what
you could for a brother

awakenings at the corona
of upthrusted earth
rising to Pacific
you find a new you
layers peeled away
still the exposure
the tremors of past
colliding into future
but you push through

neck protected
nothing fancy, just
tortoise determination
like giant blue herons
those passing my window
where words
are my talisman

you are there
in the moment
bawdy stories
of long-lost aunts
those funny as hell
tales of making out
in a Pennsylvania cemetery
white girl with
those black guys
the sum total
of your life

reclaiming lost
narratives
those woven sheets
of indigenous
cotton, the colors
of your past
beckoning a new
renewed future
one day
your stories
will bring a chuckle
to us all

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/photocontest/detail/natural-world/last-light-over-myakka-lake-1/ https://contest-public-media.si-cdn.com/5e8038a4-d76f-46e2-b4f8-877a5823e30d.jpg A pair of sandhill cranes standing in Myakka Lake as a flock of white ...

Paul Haeder's new bio is about suspending all those credentials, all those titles, all those in-the-trench experiences he's acquired and worked hard on in his 64 years (2021): Novelist, essayist, journalist, social worker, college and K12 educator, environmental warrior. Terms and avocations more meaningless as cancel culture rises and rises from left and right insanity. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 16 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.