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Echo Lake Park 2003
by
Linda Radice


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Just a few steps from the highway, the park was almost
deserted that rush-hour afternoon, the autumn lake as if

 it had been scribbled with the old crayola color, burnt umber,
and dotted with green-capped mallards that bobbed beside

 their brown-flecked mates. I walked slowly, filled my lungs with
crisp air, my eyes on the oranges, reds, and slices of autumn sky.

 I never saw him until he ambushed me between the wooden
benches and the boathouse shuttered for winter. He lunged like

 a muddy ghost, broad chest forward, flat feet splashing in the
coffee that spilled from my paper cup. He hissed loudly, his

 outstretched wings a wall of flapping threats as he pressed
his feathers against me - muscular neck extended - and reached

 for the paper bag I held above my head. He snatched the booty
and disappeared toward the darkening water, his prize clenched

 by its edge, hung from his beak, leaving me to wonder - about Yeats
and his Leda – and what lies beneath the creatures of fairy tales.

 But Once Upon a Time in Echo Lake Park, I was mugged
by a swan for two donuts – one glazed and one jelly.

Copyright by Linda Radice 2003
Previously published in Exit 13 Magazine
Used with the author’s permission.

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Linda Radice is a poet and essayist, who keeps her day job--she has been a paralegal for 30 years--to feed her obsession with books and writing. Her work has been published in many literary journals and anthologies, and she was a finalist for the Allen Ginsberg Award for three consecutive years. Assistant director of the Baron Arts Center’s Poets Wednesday reading series, Linda has two children and a granddaughter, and still resides in her hometown of North Plainfield, New Jersey, with her husband and a cat named Shakespeare. To see more of her work, visit http://lindaradice.blogspot.com/.

 


Post New Comment:
jimfirst:
Wonderful turn at the end, specifying the two kinds of donuts.
Posted 10/04/2014 10:07 AM
jtmilford:
A very funny poem. What lies beneath the swan was easy food.
Posted 10/03/2014 03:22 PM
Dorcas:
So disarming are creations individuals.
Posted 10/03/2014 10:03 AM
Cindy:
so great a picture - love it
Posted 10/02/2014 11:17 AM
penhart:
Ah, memories of Echo Lake Park---you really capture it, Linda. And the ducks and swans...and I love the poem: "mugged by a swan"...wow!
Posted 10/02/2014 10:01 AM
dotief@comcast.net:
Very nice! Made me laugh!
Posted 10/02/2014 08:37 AM
Charly:
Love this!
Posted 10/02/2014 06:24 AM
phebe.davidson@gmail.com:
I love this poem---and not just because I've been to Echo Lake Park!
Posted 10/02/2014 06:08 AM
poetronics:
Terrific, taut and humorous.
Posted 10/01/2014 11:24 PM
TheSilverOne:
~~~Wonderful poem! Could see it all.
Posted 10/01/2014 11:18 PM


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