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WATCHING CRANES
by Jackie Fox

Like heaven’s beating heart
they arrive by the thousands,
until the swirling sky glides
to a stop.

They leap for sheer joy,
curtsy on black twig legs,
heads touched by God’s
thumbprint.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after my husband and I spent the night in a private blind on the Platte River watching sandhill cranes a couple hours west of Omaha, Nebraska, where we live. (It’s a real bucket list experience!) Every spring about half a million sandhill cranes spend a few weeks where the Platte River runs through south central Nebraska to rest up before heading north. The cranes spend the days in nearby cornfields eating, and they roost in the shallow river sandbars at night. They talk all night; it’s like a noisy cocktail party. When they stop talking it’s because a predator is nearby. People come from all over the world to see them, and now that we finally did it I understand why. Poems and pictures don’t do it justice (although it’s fun to try!).

PHOTO: “Sandhill Cranes, Platte River, Nebraska” by Bruce Fox.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Fox lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband Bruce. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, most recently in Bellevue Literary Review, LitRagger, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, and is forthcoming in Rattle. She has completed one semester toward an MFA in the University of Nebraska creative low-residency writing program.