A Duck Drawn on New Year’s Day

When cement is drying
into what will become a sidewalk,
sometimes children will make an imprint
with their hands
or write their names
or their parents will write the date
so that everyone who walks over
that spot will know
when it was made
and who was there.

Never, until this morning,
when I was out walking with my dog
on New Year’s Day, had I ever seen
the shape of a bird
drawn into dried cement,
but there it was: a mallard duck,
wings spread wide,
flying north forever
like a strange angel
temporarily trapped in this world.

Jane Beal

On Flower Street


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