Oklahoma Lacks Phoenixes, Albatrosses

by Phil Estes


My sadness is heart-achingly
And normal; we all feel it:
The blue and gold dusk
Over a small town.
I especially feel the sadness at the gyro shop
Or the sadness
On my back patio
Overlooking a man-made pond.

I see a blue heron
But only on Thursdays
And we kind of stare
At each other. He’s fat,
Like everything in Oklahoma,
Like what I am becoming,
But his wings still spread
Like vested arms
When a priest administers
The sacraments
And transubstantiates the blood and body.

This heron still lifts
His frumpy self:
It sags
Like a half-bag of rotted food, And he flies.

I almost wrote
“He flies forever,”
But that’s not possible
For anyone, not even Christ.
But this bird gets the fuck out
Of Oklahoma, if only for a little bit.
He still holds turtles in his mouth.

Phil Estes lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has poems forthcoming in Abraham Lincoln, Diagram, Inter|rupture, and West Wind Review.