For all that I am not

I still follow ant trails. Track worker bees.
Watch the last of the monarchs dry their
wings before first flight. Break open
cattails, meditate on the silence of tides,

rhythm of waves, spray of sea salt. I am
a black-winged gull facing the easterly, a
blue heron in knee-deep brine, a driftwood
tangle high upon the weather-beaten beach.

But there is always a star-studded ladder
to climb: always a reaching, always an
always. The next and the next and the
next. An optional trajectory to consider.

My current certainly runs rapid, rough-
shod, and today is the last day of my life
just as surely as tomorrow is the first.
— please, blink twice if you understand –

Rose quartz softens in the undertow.
No discussion. No negotiation. No com-
promise. For all that I am          I am
not the parallel of a forgotten whisper.

Jenna Heller is an American-New Zealander living in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2020, she won the NZ National Fiction Day competition and was shortlisted for the New Zealand Society of Authors’ Heritage Awards (poetry) and the Takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize.

You can see more of Jenna's work in 5.2 and 7.2 and 9.1

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