Catholic Alligator

by Jan Ball


A great blue heron struts
along the Florida shore
of our private beach,
as seriously as
a meditating friar
oblivious of Covid 19
rules to stay away from
other shore birds like egrets
and sand pipers,
the social distance
of a Catholic alligator.

We are hunkered down
in our condo like Carmelite
nuns albeit with a balcony
that overlooks the Gulf
of Mexico, not exactly
cloistered in a cell.

Nor do we eat gruel three
times a day like nunnery’s
served during plague times
in the Middle ages.

We use an agency to bring us
provisions that complement
the stores our daughter generously
refrigerated when she was here
before the pandemic really hit
her New York City home,
so we have ingredients
for shrimp with rice as well as
my husband’s shepherd’s pie.

And now, a man on a motorized
jet ski streaks across my vision
like a vision of St. Paul,
just missing three pelicans passing
on his left, too close to be playing
by the rules. 



Jan Ball has had 330 poems published in various journals, including Atlanta Review, Calyx, Nimrod, and The American Journal of Poetry, internationally as well as the U.S.. Jan’s three chapbooks and full length poetry collection, I Wanted To Dance With My Father, are available from Finishing Line Press and Amazon. Orbis, England, 2020, nominated her for a Pushcart Award. When not traveling, Jan and her husband like to cook for friends. Photo by Laura Hankin, who grew up in Columbia County, New York, and returned to the area after a 25-year absence. She is a law librarian with the New York Courts and spends every weekend in her kayak during the summer through the fall among herons and the occasional egret.

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