PELICAN RISING

Freedom bequeathed from antiquity

lifts him on a salty current

a Pleistocene phoenix

like a minor revelation rising

from the cordgrass, rising

through oleander.

His mud-and-salt-pan plumes

are vibrant in their motion

against sepia stillness;

red-rimmed eyes scan his course

consider the offerings.

But his needs

cannot be met here: Asphalt, steel

rubber, glass and brick –

foreign parts

of a border world outside his own.

Expert air-surfer, on one

finger he turns

traces the invisible crest, dips

into a lower trough

glides the draft

streaming above opaque rivers

that thread the dusty marshes

of his home.

Published in Reach of Song, 2017