White Duck in a Green Pool
The Clinton River makes an acute turn, chews
up the banks and topples trees whose roots hang fibrous
and ungrounded into the green water. Mallards, quacking
and grunting, slide along the current like pucks
in an air hockey game, smooth on the wrinkled green surface,
interrupting the reflection of willows and phragmites
with their shiny blue and green heads. When the river cuts
back far enough, it will rejoin itself, abandoning
this U-shaped oxbow to stagnate like an old appendix.
Already, the trail caves into the river and disappears,
almost impassable between the plunge to water
and the thicket of brambles. Already,
old oxbows ring islands of trashy willows and weeds
where Canada geese nest, the males hissing,
trailing intruders, attacking with wing blows,
with the heavy thump of breastbone against neck and shoulder.
No one in this dismal place is jubilant, but the white ducks,
resting on the sandbar opposite the bend of the river preen
their spotless feathers with bright orange smiles.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Okay, something a little more cheerful.