A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2007, vol 3 no 3

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Ray Rasmussen


Journey to the Far North

The river ice cracks and buckles; blocks grind into the bank, twist upward, gouge out black earth, fall back into the torrent. Midriver, a female mallard preens on an ice floe. She's a tiny spot of brown, mottled like the dry sedge grasses that will provide cover for her brood under the spring sun.

"Do something, Lady Duck," I yell. "If you just sit there, you'll end up in the Arctic Ocean. Go find your drake."

Back home, my wife says, "Maybe she's the new, emancipated lady duck who has had a glimpse of the trials of raising ducklings in a world of coyotes and hawks."

On the mantle, a photo of our two daughters both adrift in a world of teen drugs and sex. I want to go back and yell: "Float on, Lady Duck. A solo jaunt to the Far North might be just the thing."

street teen
no smile as she calls out
spare change