by Haley Cheek

Tuesday, late afternoon:

I saw a swan feeding in the lake.
She was hungry, like me, and alone,

but not as cold.

I saw her tuck her head into the water,

tip her back end into the air,
and let it float like a buoy,

too white against the white sky
to help anyone navigate.

Right-side up she waited for the ripples
to stop their easy rocking,

furling and unfurling her neck
before dipping back into the lake.

Tuesday, evening:

I told everyone I saw about the swan
feeding in the lake.

Reactions were mixed.

I sent one friend, an avid birder,

a photo of her iceberg tail.
My roommate laughed

because I used the words “butt”
and “wiggle” when I told her

and because she knew joy
in my voice when she heard it.

Wednesday, night:

I remembered the swan
one hundred times.

Out of indifference,

she let me close enough

to feel jealous.
In bed, hungry, I slouched

and listened to wet snow crackle
like tissue paper in the gutter.


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