September 29, by Luke Whisnant

Wood ducks down for the night
with their bright beaks tucked into the tuft
of their brown breast feathers:

six gaudy drakes and a hen
hunched in the Food Mart parking lot.
They are so still I think

they must be wooden decoys
placed just so on the cool black asphalt—
someone’s practical joke, or conceptual art—

frozen in the last few moments of dusk
until one lifts his iridescent green head
and blinks. They hardly flutter

when I start my car. They’re parked
legally, seven in a single space.
I wheel the car out and rake them

with my headlights. They never move.
So still, this world, balanced on the cusp
between summer and fall.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

Luke Whisnant’s most recent book is Down in the Flood, a collection of stories. He teaches creative writing at East Carolina University, where he also edits Tar River Poetry.

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