webbed, goose-white

nut-broadened bird.

He could green-water

scum-break and wet-

feather-waddle from the shallows.

He stumbled through lives, wives,

fragrance and faux pas,

yet by boat or bank, under bridge,

elegant he was, easy

legged, otter-elan,

loafing, lollygagging

log-light, drifting

towards senility

with a watery grace.

Once he challenged the current

near Dubuque and came across

a quarter-mile downstream,

and once he pushed it north

against the choppy grind,

kissed the lock’s locked door

and felt the wild whiskers

of a big-bellied cat

checking his calves for lunch

and with dawdle-not

fear kicking his feet

like a steamboat’s paddle

went south and never returned.


Jeff Burt


Jeff Burt works in manufacturing.  He has work in Rhino, Nature Writing, Windfall, and Thrice Fiction, and forthcoming in Mobius and Storm Cellar.

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