The pink of her plumage
is borrowed from the shells of shrimp she
snaps from the muddy grasses, as step-by-step
she extends her stride across
a kingdom not river, not sea,
safe because she is a replica
of another and another, copies every one.
She gazes, She gazes again,
of no cunning, a swimmer of no depth.
Even her beauty is doubtful—
she drips water from a beak
too bent to be a weapon too mute for song.
Emptily alert, she is
as tall as she needs to be
to attend to the multitude
that feeds in salt-shallows trodden green,
rises to cloud the sun,
and descends again to
reedy afterthought. Nothing is hers.