We were down by the river one night, having an after dinner smoke on the railroad trestle. It was late, but we were tucked in the shadows from the buildings across the river. The light from the town fell on the hills behind us. Just smoking and talking down there on the bridge.
About then everything stopped. The town got quiet. I can’t remember the river making any noise. We both watched a black heron flying the length of the river. It flew low, behind the buildings, and to the west. Herons don’t pass through this town too often.
We both looked at each other and said something like “Woe”. Two old owls on the rail-head. But that’s the last we ever spoke of the black heron.
first published in Wind Row, Spring, 1985.