April

Spring’s out and the lake’s so clear

you can see duck feet waddling.

It’s 2:35 on Sunday and the Serpentine is littered

with birds and blue plastic boats sketching ripples

across the water.

Out on the lake most boats press on unevenly,

one person paddling. A man rows by with two small children,

twins: identical jeans, striped shirts, life jackets.

They’re strapped into their seats but can see

everything, everything:

they shriek as their father paddles towards the ducks.

The ducks swim away. Some have green heads

and grey bodies. Some glide casually, pushing

behind them with legs like frogs, stretching their necks

miles from the water

wings tucked neatly to their sides.

Close to the edge of the lake where the bread-bits gather

a small duck throws his head underwater.

Six inches away on the concrete

a pigeon eyes a piece of cracker. He sticks

a foot in the water. Behind him,

a little girl falls off her scooter

and starts to cry. All right,

then. All right. On we go. The pigeon

trots off in the other direction, towards

the food-car, the line, the sweet warm almonds.

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