“What the duck thinks” by Lori K. Ortiz

Author’s statement: This poem arrived on a brisk walk down to Rotary Beach in Ketchikan, last February.

Walking at the edge of the water this morning In the company of wind whipped snow flurries Sweeping in, then out
over the shore

I stop –
noticing moving objects in the water.
I sharpen my gaze,
Yes,
ducks.
Here am I – shore bound
With a down coat and the old barn jacket over that A scarf wrapped high up my neck
A head band, a wool hat
and a hood
Gloved hands tingling in my pockets
Two ducks paddle serenely in the bay
Not close enough for me to eavesdrop

What does she think of this I wonder.
Is she like
“What the hell? See…it’s ​always​ like this…Couldn’t we just consider the pond on the gulf course in Arizona? Can we please talk about this?”
Or was she born to this and paddles silently, maybe blissfully…
Her proud flat beak
pointing into the wind…thinking,” God I Love it here…no crowds, no chemicals, and there!
Right there! The perfect place to send the little’lings on their first paddle.”

What does he think?
“This cold snap can’t last that long…they said this place was temperate.”
Or,
Does he beam with pride, “​Alaska​ Honey! Now see this, THIS is the real deal!. Ours will “Make Way!,” No doubt about that! This’ll put some down on their chests.”

Their feet are in.the.Water.
I pull the zipper up and up, just over the ridge of my nose. How do they do that?
I fall short in natural science
I turn back to my
Warn house, warm feet,
Graced for a moment

by nature.


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