Motionless as herons, snipers stare,
their long, slick beaks of guns all pointing down
at crumbled stones. Throughout the heavy air
no ripples stir, nothing moves. No sound.

I read the news reports of war and think
about the parts that I can comprehend.
In my mind’s eye, I see the river’s brink,
with shore birds drenched in silence that portends
quick death below — a frog, a careless fish.
This scene glides through my thoughts as somehow right.
There is an order here; nature persists
in balances.
But then, a different sight:
the herons, shot — blood, pouring through my dreams
and drowning fishes in a dying stream.

Sandra Shaffer VanDoren has published work in Iambs & Trochees, Lyric, Mid-America Poetry Review, and Neovictorian / Cochlea, among others.

First published in Measure, Volume 2 (2007)