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C.E. Chaffin


Who Will Speak for the Herons?

The black-crowned night herons
who nested high
in the five-trunked ficus tree?

We warned our councilman:
"What? What are they called?"
It was election time.

Who will speak for the herons
who circle the stumps
that anchored their world

and wonder "Why so much air,
so much air and no leaves,
air and no branches?"

In soft grey tuxedos
from lamp posts they watch
for any movement
but the movement of machines.

Where are the mottled fledglings
with their lime green legs
begging beakfuls of fish?

Their world is flown,
rolled in a dumpster.
Fly, they fly in circles.


C.E. Chaffin received a B.A. in English in 1976 from UCLA, winning "The Edward Niles Hooker Award for Outstanding Achievement in English" (top prize for students in the honors program, in which he wasn't). He also served as poetry editor of Goldenwest Literary Magazine and Carrion while an undergraduate.  He has published a book of poetry titled Elementary, Edwin Mellen Press, 1997, as well as published poetry in numerous e-zines, including Agnieszka's Dowry, Recursive Angel, Web Del Sol, and Zuzu's Petals Literary Quarterly.  Mr. Chaffin also holds a M.D. degree, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and is Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California-Irvine.

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