This week’s poem asks us to imagine ourselves inside the body of a duck that has missed all the vital (and obvious) cues of impending doom. From there, it is not a far leap to also read here a warning for any of us who occasionally get lost in “preening” and “thoughts / deep as the slow-moving current.”

Rebecca Irene lives in Portland and recently received her MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.


By Rebecca Irene

What made you do that?

All the others sensed danger.

They all knew when it was time

to leave.

The dogs weren’t even quiet,

for God’s sake, & little Billy

shot off his gun for fun.


You were so lost—

in preening, your thoughts

deep as the slow-moving current,

that you barely understood why

the cool blue ripples

turned— red swirls clouding.

Why you sank, as others reached

boundless sky.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2014 Rebecca Irene. It appeared in Sixfold, Winter 2014, and appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to

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