"THE HERON ASCENDING" by Joyce Liu



in the distance, a small shape,

or maybe dozens melding into one.

i’m near-sighted, too arrogant for glasses,

too genetically doomed not to need them,

perched on my windowsill regardless,

squinting at the sky.

sitting here is easier than talking about it.

i can’t live with all my loneliness, God,

i really can’t, but there’s nobody left to hold it with me.

stare out at the wetlands and wait for the tall grass to stare back;

you’ll be bones before it blinks.

i think some things in life are burdens we always carry alone,

even when we don’t want them to be,

and i’m about 50% resigned to it.

it’s not always so bad,

being the girl on the roof,

the girl on the windowsill,

the girl in the wetlands with her earbuds and bad playlists.

you can sing as loud as you want,

jump on boulders for fun,

shuffle home against the wind like a coward

and not be held accountable for it.

there’s freedom here, in selfishness and solitude,

in not making your decisions for someone else’s happiness.

here, the blackbirds,

rolling across the sky like dice.

behind you, a firm gust of wind.

in front of you, the horizon,

and the heron, ascending,

a cloud amongst so many clouds.




Joyce Liu is a young poet from Canada. She got her driver's license last fall but is still scared of the highway. More of her work can be found in released and upcoming issues of perhappened mag, Gone Lawn, and Vagabond City. Joyce tweets sometimes at @joyceliuwrites.

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