Poem by Donna Hilbert

At the seam of water and sand
a lone blue heron stands.
And in the placid sea
its distant kin: the pelican.
On such mornings
all birds are silver, all words are song:
silver water, silver light
birds in flight
and after.
Weeks ago, sirens
lured me from my work
and on my perch
above the beach, I watched
as lifeguards pulled
a girl from water to sand.
There is no way to sing this.
It is noon:
the light is not silver,
nothing is placid
the spectral birds elsewhere,
but two policemen are here
with a man and woman.  The parents.
This is where it happened.
I didn’t see her face
that day, only her torso
her pale arms, still legs.
And her swimsuit,
her scarlet swimsuit.

About the Author: Donna Hilbert’s latest book, The Green Season, World Parade Books, a collection of poems, stories and essays, is now available in an expanded second edition. Hilbert’s  poetry is the text of the documentary Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story, a Christine Fugate film. Earlier books include Mansions and Deep Red, from Event Horizon, Transforming Matter and Traveler in Paradise from PEARL Editions and the short story collection Women Who Make Money and the Men Who Love Them from Staple First Editions and published in England. Poems in Italian can be found in Bloc notes 59 and in French in La page blanche, in both cases, translated by Mariacristina Natalia Bertoli. New work is in recent or forthcoming issues of 5AM, Nerve Cowboy, PEARL, and Poets & Artists. A new collection, The Congress of Luminous Bodies, is forthcoming from Aortic Books. Learn more at

Note: “Where It Happened” and two other poems by Donna Hilbert will appear in the Silver Birch Press release SILVER: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose, available November 15, 2012.