Among the ducks

I could stay for hours among the ducks, viewing their careful observations of the passersby as they wonder if each can be trusted.

The woman who dips the toes of her infant daughter in the cool water.

The couple crying on the bench, she looking to him for signs of life, he looking coldly toward the setting sun.

The laughing ladies who let their dogs loose to scatter the flock.

The old Hispanic woman at the table, who seemed sad at first, then only wise.

And me, hair mussed from a long swim, heart steady and strong, seeing the mud and the shit and the grass and the feathers and the light on the water and the tickling red bug on my arm with the same eyes.

What do the ducks think of me when they look back?

And then the people leave one by one as the sun goes down and the clamoring quacks grow quiet as the ducks leave the water, flutter their feathers to dry, claim their spots on the grass, tuck their heads under their wings, and sleep.

The world has changed, and I with it.sleeping-ducks

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