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