Winter Morning, Mystic

duck
Photo: Summit Foundation.

19 December 2016

The ice is hungry.
It eats the river.
Only a small cove
is able to eat back,
a cove where mallards gather,
and coupled grebes.
Is that a ruddy duck?
Where is its mate?
A goose lands, clumsily,
and then another, farther out,
on the frosted-over sheet
they waddle across to water.

Rimming the inner cove,
ice-bearded seaweed is combed
stiff, beneath which plankton
swim beyond reach of the surface
world’s gathering hunger.  Gulls
laugh it off.  Ducks complain,
which sets off the geese.
Bills first, rumps up,
the ducks float upside down,
then right themselves, their beaks
hanging with river grass.  Laugh,
again, the gulls.  Crab the ducks.
The cove grows ever smaller.
I sense flight imminent.

Philip Kuepper
(1 December 2016)

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