Post Road Magazine #26

Animal Behavior

Billy Collins

Among the animals who avoid danger
just by being still,
the heron is a favorite example,
indistinguishable from the reeds
he stands in, thin and gray, at the water's edge.

Then there is the snowy egret
who must think he can make
his white question mark of a body
just vanish from the scene
by being as motionless as can be.

When it comes to people,
there's the quiet man at the bar
who lifts his eyes now and then
as well as the girl in the striking dress
who must pretend she is not here.

And who am I to talk?
the last flamingo to leave the party,
good at avoiding danger so far,
away from any cove or shore,
yet conspicuous as the drink I carry out the door.


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