I want the swans back—
the father’s wide beak, the wings spread
and beating down
into the water, telling the water
to stay down, all before leading
his wife and two young through the reeds
and on to the other side
of the Bay.
(If I had known, I would have
Minutes later, the world became a series
of crashing booms and water. Through gritted teeth
I thought, please, let it be the ducks. Please,
don’t let it be anything.
I wanted the bullets to only strike
water, perhaps at the loss of a fish or two
when they try to swallow the shining cylinders
and later expend.
Until tomorrow, I cannot rest. Until that line
of four—white, white, ugly duckling, white—returns,
I will bare my teeth.
GUN CONTROL: THE EPILOGUE
The ugly duckling did not disappear around the turn of the Bay
and emerge as a beautiful swan.
The ugly duckling disappeared around the turn of the Bay.