Steve Luria Ablon
In Belize I saw a young cormorant flailing
in the shallow water of the flats
and knew that soon it would drown,
its wings splayed, its head bobbing in
and out of the water with the tide.
I thought this bird could bite me, scratch me,
but I reached down, picked it out of the ocean.
It lay still in my hand it’s heart pounding
then motionless on the floor of the boat
like a black rag with a greenish hue.
Drying in the equatorial sun it struggled
to walk, came and leaned against my foot.
The sharp hooked bill, the nutmeg brown
breast quivered but the blues eyes memorized
my face. After a while I named the bird
Larry, spoke to it, promised it would be all right,
we would take him to land. Larry began to walk
about the boat looking at me, leaning against me,
his feathers slowly drying. When we reached land
I picked Larry up. He nestled in my hand.
I watched him until his wings dried.
He seemed to look one last time in my direction
and then flew off into the mangroves.
I like to think of him as my father
Bringing me hope under the violent summer sun.