Poetry Wednesday: The Swan at Edgewater Park

The Swan at Edgewater Park

Isn't one of your prissy rich peoples' 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.

by Ruth L. Schwartz
 from Edgewater. © Harper Collins, 2002
Courtesy of The Writer's Almanac