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Echo Lake Park 2003
Linda Radice


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.


Linda Radice (1952 - 2017) was a poet and essayist, who kept her day job--she was a paralegal for more than 30 years--to feed her obsession with books and writing. Her work appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, and she was a finalist for the Allen Ginsberg Award for three consecutive years. Linda lived in North Plainfield, New Jersey, the town she grew up in, with her husband and a cat named Shakespeare.


Post New Comment:
Wonderful turn at the end, specifying the two kinds of donuts.
Posted 10/04/2014 10:07 AM
A very funny poem. What lies beneath the swan was easy food.
Posted 10/03/2014 03:22 PM
so great a picture - love it
Posted 10/02/2014 11:17 AM
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"!
Posted 10/02/2014 10:01 AM
Very nice! Made me laugh!
Posted 10/02/2014 08:37 AM
Love this!
Posted 10/02/2014 06:24 AM
I love this poem---and not just because I've been to Echo Lake Park!
Posted 10/02/2014 06:08 AM
Terrific, taut and humorous.
Posted 10/01/2014 11:24 PM
~~~Wonderful poem! Could see it all.
Posted 10/01/2014 11:18 PM

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