An Intelligent Design
by Helen Wickes
Helen Wickes lives in Oakland, California, and worked for many years as a psychotherapist. In 2002 she received an M.F.A. from Bennington College. Her first book of poems, In Search of Landscape, was published in 2007 by Sixteen Rivers Press. Her poems can be read and heard online at From The Fishouse. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI Online, Atlanta Review, Confrontation, Eclipse, Evansville Review, RiverSedge, Sanskrit, South Dakota Review, Stand, Runes, ZYZZYVA, Zone 3, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Collagist, Natural Bridge, Santa Clara Review, Limestone, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Bryant Literary Review, Eclectica, Ellipsis, Southwestern American Literature, Soundings East, Verdad, The Coe Review, Crucible, The Jabberwock Review, Kaleidoscope, Pleiades, PMS poemmemoirstory, SLAB, The Griffin, Salamander, Epicenter, Barnstorm, Poetry Flash, In the Grove, CQ, CSPS, Freshwater, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Softblow, 5 AM, the Bennington Review, and the anthology Best of the Web 2009.
That his ancestors were stardust, this
we know, and that something happened,
stardust and planetary debris seeking a place
to name home, coalesced, and drifted, rotted
and hunkered down, that things eked forth
and spewed out, and that lumbering creatures
ventured afar, as we imagine that these beasts
hunkered down, into life, and the smaller,
heaven-inclined ones downshifted, arraying
their bodies for comfort, for beauty, for flight,
settled the meadows and ponds — feathered
and gorgeous — on the daily drive — there he be —
that great blue heron, cleaning each centimeter,
first the beak to groom the chest, then said beak
to scrounge the armpits — wingpits? — lastly turning
360 to groom his backside; then surveying
first the sky, then the road, lifts one leg,
then the other to scratch behind his ears(?)
along his throat, until gleaming, immaculate,
he raises himself into the day.
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