Woman as Heron’s Nest

Pine-needled and twigged

         I wear wind’s patchwork.

Weave Orion’s Belt into my cross-hatched

        heronry so egg can clutch leaf scrim.

I’m the well-made platform.

        A manifesto above marsh, among frozen streams

sometimes where grey wing

        meets salt as sea-seam blooms foam.

I watch, stalk.

        Scaffold the moon, scrounge lichen.


        the sky. Look. I rook pond and vernal pool.

I’m empire’s swampy mother.

        Still I harbor blue.

With lightning speed I anthropocene.

        I sort. Look. While I stitch grass to my breast.

My wilderness haunts the shoreline.

         I am shy. Think structure or witch.

You dilly dally. My fire consuming your lungs.

         About the brokenness

of the world I build I architect

        but what do I know.

Pamela Hart is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art where she teaches and manages a visual literacy arts in education program. Her book, Mothers Over Nangarhar, was published in 2019 by Sarabande Books after winning the Kathryn A. Morton prize. She received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in poetry in 2013. In addition, she’s an editor for Afghan Voices, the Afghan Women’s Writing Project and As You Were: The Military Review. Her poems have been published in various online and print journals.