Here's one way to describe a swan.
The Swan at Edgewater Park
Ruth L. Schwartz
Isn't one of your prissy richpeoples' swans
Wouldn't be at home on some pristine pond
Chooses the whole stinking shoreline, candy wrappers, condoms
in its tidal fringe
Prefers to curve its muscular, slightly grubby neck
into the body of a Great Lake,
Swilling whatever it is swans swill,
Chardonnay of algae with bouquet of crud,
While Clevelanders walk by saying Look
at that big duck!
Beauty isn't the point here; of course
the swan is beautiful,
But not like Lorie at 16, when
Everything was possibleno
More like Lorie at 27
Smoking away her days off in her dirty kitchen,
Her kid with asthma watching TV,
The boyfriend who doesn't know yet she's gonna
Leave him, washing his car out backand
He's a runty little guy, and drinks too much, and
It's not his kid anyway, but he loves her, he
Really does, he loves them both
That's the kind of swan this is.
from Crab Orchard Review, Volume 6, Number 2, Spring/Summer 2001
Crab Orchard Review
Copyright 2001 by Ruth L. Schwartz.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced with permission (click for permissions information).