What the Ducks Know

The ducks have colonized the sidewalk,                                      
now that the river has spread its arms and rolled                        
itself over the stones like a welcome mat.                                 
When streets become lakes, their waters bottomless caves,             
it is a good day for ducks. They scavenge drowned cities, 
squabbling over the artifacts found,                                          
sorting styrofoam from fish eggs.                      
The neighbors, the seagulls, if they are so contented                  
with their new preening grounds, why                                            
do they scream so?
The bridge frowns down at the bloated grey highway of ducks.  
The bridge carries the people, the river the ducks.                       
The brick bulwarks were raised in fear and hope,                         
that pioneers could keep the grey gluttonous thing                      
from consuming them.             The stones can hold,                  
just so, just so. The                river spreads its teeth              
over the stone lip, daring.        Taunting that the line           
between life and death is a drop of                        
rain.
The people were scared so they built the bridge to escape it,      
they built the wall to cage it, they built the road over the road over the watery road, knowing the thing that fed the city has gnashing 
teeth.
It is only fitting. We stuffed its mouth with plastic, fed it    
pesticides and acid. The ducks know they must step around us,    
fear the autumn calls. The ducks know 
we are only ducks                                                                         
who paddle their new city without thought                                      
of splintered barns, rotten basements, crumpled roofs.                 
We make our rivers of oil and carbon.                                           
We squabble over baubles of styrofoam.  
We preen in our polished lead mirrors.                                          
We paddle our highways unaware                                                      
of the skeletons below.  

By Phoebe Rodriguez