Cleaning Miller Pond

Puzzle: how do I inch this boat
among trailing branches and vines,
find the one open space,
poke the reeds with the paddle
and pry out the Red Bull can?

Then figure the best wrist action
for flipping a burger wrapper
from under the tangle of algae
that streams off the paddle
like hair from a corpse.

The bag between my knees
grows lumpy with Styrofoam
bait buckets, beer cans, a slack-faced
soccer ball, glass and plastic
bottles sloshing grainy water.

Puzzle: why is the world so full
of slobs? And why,
on a mild spring morning
in downtown Elmira,
does all this garbage
beckon like carnival prizes?

Merrill Oliver Douglas studied in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College, and she earned an MA in English from Binghamton University in 1982. Her most recent publications are in A Narrow Fellow, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Barrow Street and San Pedro River Review. She lives near Binghamton, N.Y., where she runs a freelance writing business.

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One Response to Cleaning Miller Pond

  1. Pingback: Links to Merrill’s poems – Top of JC's Mind

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