The Woman Who Feeds Ducks of Capitol Lake


At mid-morning she arrived at the Capitol Lake

To begin her ministry to the ducks.


She will feed squirrels and nutria, and all hungry beings,

But her favorites are the ducks.

Refusing to cloak their naked greed,

The ducks crowd the lakeshore,

Waiting for the woman to open her bags, and

As she has done for many, many years,

Spread her largesse in the lakeshore’s air.


The day-old bread is partly crumbled.

She throws out big handfuls now toward the ruddies,

Now toward the scaups, and

Spotting a visiting canvasback,

She selects a fresher-appearing piece, and

Tries to have it land in the visitor’s domain.


The bread given out,

The woman rolls up her plastic bags,

Bids the lakeshore good morning, and

Leaves filled with joy.


--December 17, 2013