Charles Harper Webb

Never Too Late

Doves flute in peeling eucalyptus trees.
          Rain pit-pit-pits off lance-point leaves,
                              and pings into expanding bullseyes

                              on Descano Pond. Red-wings ride
          bucking tules at the water’s edge.
Beside them, still as a decoy, a mallard

rests—emerald pate, brass chest,
          pewter sides. Another paddles by,
                              leaned forward as if pulled on a string.

                              Roses twitch their yellow heads.
          A cottontail pogos away as mossbacked
cooters periscope the pond’s scum-crust.

Purple irises bend as if to drink
          when the wind gusts. A school
                              of bluegills shadow me. The baking-soda

                              submarine I flushed in 1963
          surfaces: full-sized, blowing
like a whale. The crew flash V for Victory.