Magazine | August 13, 2018, Issue


(Bruno Kelly/Reuters)


(A park in South Philadelphia)

I thought red-winged blackbirds were rare, seen one
Afternoon down in Wilmington and once
On Boathouse Row, never again. But here
They were in the dozens, weaving among
Prodigious twelve-foot-high cattails. Back in
The lace-curtain neighborhood near the end of
The city, the laptop zombies long for
Coffee-shop windows. Down here at the lakes
Five or six crows harass a red-tailed hawk
Until he dives to evade them, his rusty
Tail catching the sunlight for a second,
Then flies back up and scatters their raucous
Posse. A tangle of underbrush guards
The edges of ponds expanded to lakes
After rain. A young couple dance in a
Gazebo, eccentric as a mockingbird
In June swirling around startled runners,
Guarding a nest from anything that moves.
That’s one afternoon we spent in the park
Watching nature rehearse and go forward,
A bright swan at its center that landed
Before we came and was there when we left.

Lawrence Dugan’s poems have appeared in Chronicles, First Things, Image, Modern Age, and National Review.

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