How green the city in its skin, night watersFlashing the bay with light, the greenOf spring in the foamy waves. How the world glowsWith a green fire, neon lit and subterranean;Whole seas wash over the coffee tablesInto the soup of families settling downFor the six o'clock news; night firePaints their faces: father, mother,Son, daughter rise from their daily selvesDreaming of other lives where the cityWaits, so many calls in the flashingDark, so many masks, the cityA crystal ball in the middle of the supper table,The city a chrysalis where the familyWaits, wholly asleep, its apotheosis. [End Page 276]
In a slow skittering the mallard lifts itselfAnd crosses the pond barely above water;You can feel the strain like an old biplaneRising and bouncing down again, so unlikeThe sparrow's utterly effortless being anywhereIt wants on the slightest impulse. Think ofThose complex figure eights and ImmelmannsOf the hummingbird so tiny it remainsInvisible at eighty beats a second orThe unmoving wings of a wood stork asIt glides for miles riding thermals.How I envy those whose performance dazzlesWith its seeming effortlessness. Oh to be bornLike Fred Astaire! To sing like Frank Sinatra,To be as quick-witted as Johnny Carson! AtBest I am a mallard trying really hard withMy belly splashing and skipping over the pondJust for a slow, short ride on air. [End Page 277]
Ron De Maris is an endowed chair emeritus at Miami Dade College. He taught creative writing, composition, and humanities for forty years. His involvement with poetry, art history, history, and philosophy inspired him to start writing poetry at age forty. According to De Maris, "In my old age poetry has been a blessing. It teaches me to live fully in the moment and to keep those moments alive in my poetry."