Elegy for a Mallard
I wonder what it would take to use my body
to keep you warm like those two mallards
left in a cardboard box on my doorstep.
I told you of this, years ago, seeing them
for the first time in their makeshift cave,
freezing, a dark cloister of emerald.
Their bodies one in abandonment.
When I heard of your suicide
I drank nothing but Red Rose black tea for two weeks.
My skin has fit funny ever since.
Last spring I took the mallards to Riverfront Park
& opened the door to their borrowed dog kennel.
The two birds split like a magnet broken in two:
One for the river & the other into the grill
of a MAC semi.
I didn’t know how to warn you.
When the traffic cleared I collected the bird
& buried it in the silt
& watched its mate search for days.
We’ll both wait. We’re patient, you know.
John Allen Taylor’s first chapbook, Unmonstrous, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in fall 2018. His poems are published in Booth, RHINO, Nashville Review, Zone 3, Muzzle, and other places. He currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves as Ploughshares’s senior poetry reader. He grows vegetables and brews kombucha. Say hello @johna_taylor.
Magali Duzant is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. Her photographic work explores perceptions of light and landscape. She has exhibited widely, including at Little Berlin, Philadelphia, Queens Museum in New York City, Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Sydney College of Art in Australia. In 2015, her book, I Looked & Looked, was published by Conveyor Editions. Her work has been published in print and online most recently by Aint-Bad Magazine, Der Greif, Yet Magazine, and Reframing Photography. She holds an MFA from Parsons The New School of Design and a BHA from Carnegie Mellon University. For further information, visit www.magaliduzant.com.