November 18, 2015

Ethan Joella

A PRAYER FOR DUCKS

Jesus, look after all the ducks
who drift on ponds who
wait in reeds

for absolution who walk
up to children and receive bread
on their tongues who sit

on eggs who first hatch
wet and relaxed and look up
at the sky, the sky so insistent

and blue who wade who tread
with no worry of what lingers
underneath. Jesus, make me

a duck when I die
so my daughters will see
me often, their Duck landing

everywhere. Jesus, let me
feel the air on my crown let me know
water whisking

off feathers know duck feet
dangling in wind.
Do ducks ever die?

Ducks who dive who dare
who decide
one day to be more

than swans, who wait lifetimes
to craft pieces of prayers like this
the right words scattered like feed

at your feet, Jesus, you who can do this
I’m told, my hands folded, my elbows
extended like peaceful wings.

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015

[download audio]

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Ethan Joella: “I am lucky enough to get to work with a talented group of poets in Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild. I wrote this poem for an assignment in a guild class where we were looking at prayers and reincarnation. I am not very religious, but since my daughters call me their duck, that animal has always felt quite holy and worthy of a prayer.” (website)