Writing Wednesday 03

ebb and flow

I watched the swirl of
oxygenated foam—
green from chlorophyll and
dead flowers along the banks.

the rubber duck floats.

a cold dip across my hand
as I reach down into the
trickster water reflection:
this pebble looked closer
and now I grasp at silt.

the rubber duck floats.

a car whizzes on
the graffiti-lined bridge.
one-sided sidewalk to take me
to the library uphill.
I fear the speed and velocity
of headstrong drivers,
taking the slope and the curve
too fast.

the rubber duck floats.

my wet hand slaps against
my denim shorts,
but would have dried as quickly
still and stagnant under a burning
mid-July sun.
the freshwater creek
emits the scent of
waterlogged vegetation, clinging
desperately to rocks and
rotted, abandoned logs:
broken and floating downstream.

the rubber duck floats.

I brought him here three summers past
to walk along the steep ridge,
built up on layers of sand
supporting a forest reminiscent of
witch trials and cult gatherings.
but this village is too W.A.S.P. for such dark turns
when three churches—Anglican, Baptist, Baptist—
sit up on the hills around the corner,
one down the street from the
pharmacy/ice cream shop.
each one has two playgrounds
close by, in each direction.

the rubber duck floats.

a cool breeze across my sunburnt shoulders
urges me to step in:
just a quick dip.
it’s dirty, filled with trash and grass and spit and fish.
the water level is higher in the March thaw
when the snow collected from the hills and the banks
return to liquid to cycle through
the earth’s polluted air and ground.
I slink out of my flip flops
and goosebumps rise on my legs
when the water reaches my ankles.

the rubber duck floats.

A poem about the creek in my hometown.

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