Bright White Shine Across Water
by Susan Edwards Richmond
Bobbles like buoys, my senses cry
as I walk to the point
the ragged shapes of bare limbs embrace,
my vision a peephole through woven screen.
Binoculars raised I see the unmistakable
dark bordered accordion crests
radiate from yellow eyes—
breasts from the side, inked
lines beside chestnut stripe:
drake mergansers and a hen,
then another rising on her webs,
shaking out buff headdress, wings.
Four turn into eight, a magic
trick of doubling, until a ninth
tips the gender scale, female.
Alabaster and obsidian, tawny
and dun, chug and swerve, submerge.
A zephyr smacks the surface, wiper blade
swipes clean across glass.
Deep down in the damp reeds,
a quiet peep begins, then climbs
twig by tendril by needle of pine
into the open waning light, song
sparrow emptied of its summer song.
Everything is still and straining
to be touched by late
late November sun, as the ducks
twirl and turn on their reflections
whether to stay or go.
Up the hill, another loose flock
spills from a truck, motor blowers in hand,
rounding up the year’s debris,
as if it had to be cleared—
as if it could—for the winter to come.