bough of the pear tree, a nestling
in his talons, two kingbirds in pursuit.
And behind them, a raucous jay,
trailing, waiting for a chance.
In front of sun-spoked clouds,
above the too vivid green of the rain-beaten grass,
a cattle egret, blindingly white,
rows in silence through a patch of purest azure.
Below the cry of the kingfisher,
you walk upstream in chest-deep,
fast water, wondering at the foolishness
that led you to this chance and hoping
to make the bank, realizing that water
is the child of the lord whose mother
constantly calls it home.
— William Sheldon
William Sheldon lives with his family in Hutchinson, Kansas where he teaches and writes. His poetry and prose have appeared widely in small press publications, including Columbia, Epoch, Flint Hills Review, Prairie Schooner, and Midwest Quarterly. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Retrieving Old Bones (Woodley) and the chapbook Into Distant Grass (Oil Hill Press).