Nature Preserve

Nature Preserve

by KIKO V.

As I enter the small,
fenced-in nature preserve,
a burst of gunfire from a nearby shooting range
pierces the calm morning air.

Strolling along a marshy bank,
I spy a pair of mallard ducks,
quietly preening their downy feathers
and bobbing their heads in the gray, silty water.

Above, a clay pigeon explodes,
scattering its bloodless remains
over the tiny wetland refuge.

High up in a knotty oak tree,
a bushy tailed squirrel gnaws at a shiny acorn,
and a red-bellied woodpecker
taps out a steady beat.

High above them, a twin-engine Cessna
rumbles out from between the clouds,
accompanied by a chorus of squealing tires
and thumping car stereos
from the traffic below.

The park naturalist explains
that the animals have all grown
accustomed to the noise.

I tell him, “That is absurd!”
But my words are shot down
in a hail of buckshot.

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