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 possible–no
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 back–and
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.

1 Comment

  1. Decima Wraxall says:

    This poem uses the swan as a metaphor for Lorie at 27 with all her mistakes and bad choices taking away her likelihood of a good life. At 16, she was full of promise, the world awaiting. Now, like a once magnificent swan, her chances of escaping the dirt and detritus, seem dim.

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