Because I am in you, and you are in me.~~Thich Nhat Hanh

This morning
ten ducklings scurried next to their mother
on the grass bank of Tinney Creek.

It’s the time of year for births at the creek
and on the wheel of birth’s
death for all but a few of the ducklings.

Helpless I watched
hoping the crow’s kill was quick
hoping the duckling felt only soft grass and sky

Being human this seems a loss to us
until we arrive at the meal.

This evening in a restaurant a person will order duck
for their dinner.
Talons or forks
the same but

One is choiceless, the other chooses.

For feathers or skin
made of ducks and ducklings
we ought bow in gratitude

or regret.

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Tinney Creek

Tinney Creek, St. Petersburg, Florida

Tinney Creek runs past
under
and despite
the TJ Max
CVS, Target.

It travels back and forth
from Tampa Bay
rises and falls daily with the tide
feeds Egrets, families of Muscovy ducks and Mallards
who seek tiny prawns, mud crabs, bugs.

Feathery Java fern
rounded Moneywort
grow in it’s rich mud,
abundant
as if this was still The Garden.

Between snaking highways,
Dollar Stores
gas stations
condo buildings
Taco Bells
the creeks and their residents
carry on
as if this was still The Garden.

Down the busy street a ways
atop a pole advertising Beer and Low-Cost Cigarettes,
an osprey has built a roomy nest,
designed in the contemporary open sky plan.

A lone Roseate Spoonbill sometimes visits Tinney Creek
always in company with her Egret.
I watch as
Spoonbill lifts it’s comical Dr. Seuss face
twitches its white and rosy feathers
lowers its wide paddle-like beak into brackish water
sweep, sweep 
side to side
poke, poke.

The ducks, Ibis, Egret, crows and I claim
this creek and the remaining
Royal Palms, oak trees, iridescent sunsets
as ours.

“I used to see many Roseate Spoonbills here once,”
a neighbor tells me.
My heart aches 
as regularly
as it beats
these days
at these all too familiar words:

There were many here
once. 

At night, arriving home,
my headlights sweep over the banks of the creek 
lighting up a line of ducks, like fat-buddhas
heads curled into their downy breasts
asleep despite ambulance sirens,
the roar of traffic.

At dawn they will wake 
waddle like drunks
raise their chicks,
the Osprey will hunt,
the Spoonbill and Egret will visit
I will marvel at how they float and splash
and the creek
feeds us all
as if this is still the Garden.