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

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