Field Guide

Sunday, January 15, 2023

My mother called again today.
Where did I live? she said.

I reminded her she used to live
in Clearwater. Belleview Biltmore.

Indian Rocks. Remember
the white sand, I said. Remember

the palms. When my father died,
I went for a swim in his pool.

It seemed the only thing to do.
I know now a black-crowned

blue heron came to watch. I
learned his name from a book.

You could see Sand Key,
I told my mother. From your balcony.

The Gulf of Mexico beyond, I said.
And just below your window:

cormorants, snowy egrets,
in the little inlet clotted

with mangrove. I looked them up
as I spoke, these names

I never sought
in all the Florida years. Lesser

frigate bird, black-browed
albatross. Anhinga. Sounds

nice, my mother said. I think
I remember now. Tomorrow, 

we'll begin again. Swallow-
tailed kite, little night heron.

Sunday, January 15, 2023