Make Way for Ducklings
Willows drag green fingers through our hair
as we walk the Public Garden with our granddaughter,
looking for ducks. I’ve never seen trees like this before,
she says, climbing the thick roots knobbed like knuckles
grasping dirt. We want to show her wonders, we want to
justify—what, the stories we tell her?
We want to justify the world. All we see are geese
until two mallards arrive, one green-headed,
the other gray—Mr. and Mrs., just like the book!
I don’t mention patriarchy as I point out the male’s
sunlit green and handsome ringed neck. Both
seem dignified, content, deserving any help they get
from nice policemen. So much depends
on what we don’t discuss as we meander, cold,
yet almost blinded by the low October sun.
Then we pass what none of us has ever seen:
a man decked in xylophones and stuffed dogs,
birds, bangles, and tambourines, all dangling
as he growls a bluesy song about sky and wings:
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry. We watch,
all three of us amazed as he, too, urges a child
to trust the world. One of these mornings
may the world justify our praise.
About the Author: Ruth Hoberman mainly lives in Chicago. She writes poetry and essays, which have been published in such places as RHINO, Calyx, Smartish Pace, Naugatuck River Review, and Ploughshares.
Image Credit: Image from Naturgeschichte der Vögel Mitteleuropas Gera-Untermhaus,F.E. Köhler,1897-1905 [v.1, 1905]. Courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library