Wednesday, May 10, 2006

NaPo revision: Coots

And so the real work starts ...


Look at you, sloven shortwings, your nests
a dereliction of twigs poked in sludge
beyond the gardened soils of the pond.

Tourists gather to watch you fornicate,
his grub-chain toes scouring oil from plumes
as her head dives to avoid the bloodeye leer.

Last year I watched you hatch four cuties,
bundles of floating chirrups, watched you peck
each to death in turn when you tired of them.

Still you flirt your jaundiced legs, squabble
as you wave your saddle-white heads like liars
while scrumping breadcrumbs from the geese.

If you get the idea that I'm not keen on coots, you may be right. I went to watch them again today in the park, and they really are the epitome of passive-agressive bullies. I've tried to add in a bit more close observation stuff - like their headshields reminding me of a horse's saddle. Describing their feet is really hard: they're not webbed, but rather they have semicircular flaps in a row down the side of each toe (one side on two toes and both sides on the third) - the closest image that came to mind was those insects that look like offwhite birdscat, flat and clinging to the twigs they feed off (mealybugs?), but in the end I went with "grub-chain toes" which seems close enough for my purposes.

I'm not going to waste my limited capacity for critting other's poems by workshopping this one online. Instead I'll just revise it on the website and stick it in the archives.


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