Ducks, February

Ice makes and unmakes and makes again the bed
of the pond. It’s February: moody, adolescent,
with assaults and disappointments still to come.
Snow repents halfheartedly of its cheeriness
and becomes sleet, then ice, then rain, then ice.
A hardship of frozen cattails rings the pond.
On the black water two ducks, companioning,
cruise placidly, as if unfamiliar with February.
Beneath the silvered surface their little orange feet
work steadily, but they glide as if pulled by strings.
Eating from the bottom they upend their butts
without shame and find what they need,
their eyes soft among the clicking reeds.
Together, without guile, they explore the bank,
in whose mess I imagine they’ll build a nest.
They wait. They don’t watch the sky.

It is possible to live with grace.

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Ducks, February

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
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