Seven Sad Ducks

I step outside and look to my left,
And suddenly I see seven of the ducks,
All ‘ducked down low’ and sitting
On the slope, their heads all the same way.

‘Which one of you is the mother?’ I wonder,
‘Or is she even one among you?’
I’m struck by the fact that I couldn’t tell,
All seven sitting quietly looking the same,
Their heads all pointing the same way.

All I know is I’m worried ’bout the babies,
There were 8, then 6, then 5, and now 4.
And I haven’t seen any this morning.
So yeah, which one is the mother in mourning?

What’s a mourning duck look like?
Is she cemented in grief by 6 of her kin?
Siting up there on the sloping lawn,
Chastened by the night that brought this dawn,
Their beaks all pointing the same way.

My Backyard

My backyard
Used to be mine
Before my landlady
Moved the chickenhut.
Now she comes on down
Like I imagine she fancies
She’s rolling down a tunnel
Long and smooth, past Tony’s
Twice a day to let the chickens run.

My backyard
Is a sloping square
Where I fill up on nature
Out by the firepit and duckbath.
But I gotta work on it ’cause my friend
She comes on down and I greet her warmly
And we talk together of ducklings and firewood
But really she wants to tell me the music’s too loud.

Peace

Peace is in the blue shoulder sheen
Of the pukeko, forgetting that it
May have been he who ate the ducklings.

Peace is in realizing the lawn grows in clumps
Like bamboo forests, with clear spaces between
Where duck’s feet fold the blades down like weaving.

Peace is in the way the fern fronds leap up
Like karate masters with multiple arms
Holding their elbows high in seeking the light.

Peace is in the dreaming sea sparkling tide
Quietly creeping along the mangrove shoreline,
Breathing through a blend of pale blue and green.