For 10 years, I’d watched him;
there’s been a white and black plumed
Kingfisher, living in front
of me; living: loud and large.

Literally: in front,
the cackling, chattering calls
usually beginning early,
ending late.

I’d see him on a branch,
hanging there, looking at
me in mirthful expression,
headfeathers notched up, energized.

Below, on a more ancient
tree, he’d spy, like
the herons, the waters
below, scanning for fish.

And, with an explosion
of feathered white and black, he
would bolt, from the blue sky
to the waters, a wriggling

something in his long
and broad, rather raven
like beak, after a splashed
dive into the iced waters below.

I can visualize this,
from the perspective of the fish,
that must look mostly side
ways in the waters, excepting shadows.

And I’m sure there is no, real
warning to this, just the
sound of the water bursting
above, and a gasping reach to the air.

He died yesterday, however —
announced in a clapping thump,
at the windows facing south.
I knew the sound, instantly.

Looking, from his lost,
last perspective, I could
see the watered horizon, and
it must have looked

like it went on, inland,
forever. But it didn’t.
And he left his markings
of collison on the glass:

some spit, some tiny
feathers. I picked him up
and held him for a while,
the warmth of him, quieting.

And I felt a silent sadness,
in the loss of this energetic
beauty. The winged chevrons
and geometry showed clear.

The vacant eyes, that had
seen so much, of our sky
world, of the water realm;
seeing both, and snatching

from what lies beneath, the
murky, seaweed-bound tangles
below, sensing the sharp
charge of the waters,

grasping silver, later:
chattering in his wild
calling of exultation.
Now, silenced, he’s gone,
quieted, looking up at the

starry sky. I thought to
return him to the sea;
but, in contemplation
laid him down, gazing sightless.

My meditation in this?
I will miss him, seen or not,
but heard, all day long, in
his celebration of living: loud.

I would hope to be like him.

TSG / Decatur