James madison park on a saturday

april warmth settles on the lake like an oil spill,
finger-clouds like two small hands covering
six p.m. sun, a game of peekaboo.

the round calved legs of children
making rings in the water –
the world smoothed down to two blocks of lakefront.

either a child’s plaything – a football, maybe –
or a dead duck – body hard against the water’s little licks –
floating an unretrievable distance from shore