Montana has a long tradition of listening to and respecting — revering — its writers and the state’s literary tradition. In an unprecedented show of unity, more than forty of Montana’s best writers have gathered, in rapid response fashion, to write original essays and testimonials advocating for the protection of our public lands, and endorsing Democratic House of Representatives candidate Rob Quist’s position on this (literally) most common ground of issues. Please vote on May 25.

Marc Beaudin

Another Blue (Ardea herodias)

The voice of the heron carries the
rasp of pterodactyl and archaeopteryx
it is an unmarked watery grave that reaches

IMG_7440.JPG Lake McDonald.JPG

suddenly with taloned fingers and
startles the man swimming alone
among cattails and mud-sleeping turtles

He once, years before, carried a dead heron close
to his chest like an infant–this old
friend and father, teacher in the school of

lake water and moonlight, omen,
bringer of dreams, found floating
in the reeds at lake’s edge, waiting

From his canoe, aluminum turned brass in
evening light, he watches the bird’s spirit, or
something, fly from the willows, bank above

the still water and disappear over the mosaic
of trees climbing the hillside   Today
standing thigh-deep in the water of the marsh

he rubs that memory between thumb
and finger, enjoys the sun sinking into face
and shoulders and tries to ignore the insistent
buzzing of an airplane sounding like some
small insect at the window, trapped
and waiting for death

Marc Beaudin is an award-winning poet, theatre artist and bookseller living in the writer’s haven of Livingston, Montana.

(originally published in Fragile Arts Quarterly)