Edie Rhoads – After Innocence
It was your words on the white page
that sent me back to the park, to the lake
where I saw the grey swans molting
telling their white feathers to remember
that most everything is dirty
before it is beautiful.
The swans feed and come up
first the white rumps high over the water
black feet crabbed and kicking, then
duckweed draped in strings over their bills.
Symbols of grace and flight. The one pure white –
the adult male – I’ve seen him hiss and hunch his wings
stampede across the pond’s face heavy with rage.
This is what swans do.
Swirling water – the mother glides
and the mottled young bunch behind.
Their mossy shits will line the pier
at dawn. From the bridge I look on
admiring what I can’t contain.
The swans’ wings punch the air
snow to rain and back.
EDIE RHOADS studied at the University of Virginia and completed her MFA as a New York Times Fellow at NYU. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Indiana Review, and Post Road. She works at an elementary school in Burlington.