There Aren’t Any Ducks in the Duck Pond,
Jonathan Greenhause

but that’s OK   because there’s no God either,
so the lack of ducks

in a pond named after them
shouldn’t be cause for concern,   this absent divinity

allowing us to believe in other things,   like science
or perhaps ourselves;

& if we try hard enough,
we can put the ducks   back into the duck pond,

put the water back into water,   remove
the contaminants,

purify the air, suck back
plastic buried in soil   & set afloat in our oceans.

There aren’t any ducks   quacking in the duck pond,
but the shape’s still there:

Just add water, & stir.
Just add lily pads, frogs, & swans.   Just add

fiscal responsibility,   municipal allocations,
clean-up crews,

& an appreciation of nature.
The chemicals we’ve spilled   will decay over time:

In millions of years,   it’ll be safe to swim there,
our air gloriously ready

to breathe again, our trash
odiferously decomposing,   our melting glaciers

chillingly restored   to pre-industrial dimensions.
There aren’t any ducks

paddling in the duck pond
or happily waddling   by its muddy edges,

but there’s an overabundance   of sludge & muck,
so let’s accept what it’s become

& rename it accordingly.


The Cashier’s Composed Entirely
Jonathan Greenhause

of hamburger wrappers   crinkling as she hands back my change.
The wind disperses her:

Where her body was   becomes empty space, becomes a board
announcing menu combos

& prices ending in 99.   Other employees near, all made up
of fast-food supplies:

Ketchup pouches & french-fry cones.   Giant-sized plastic cups
imprinted with film-friendly

cartoon characters.   Each worker changes into an assortment
of chain-restaurant detritus,

& the customers, too, metamorphose   into their preoccupations: A mother converted

into Dolce & Gabbana purses;   her child transformed
into a thousand videogames;

a melancholic man undone   into a heap of fried-fish sandwiches.
Humanity’s sucked out

of everything human   ’til we’re watches & iPads, dresses & ties,
attempting to be stylish

by proudly displaying what we possess;   yet here we are
stuck in a fast-food joint,

allowing ourselves   to melt into our generic surroundings
of consumerist camouflage.

& from the empty space   where her hamburger wrappers were,
the cashier asks if that’ll be all,

as a thousand pens scatter to the floor,   plastic against linoleum,
the sound of a poet’s body

scattering into silence.


Jonathan Greenhause has won awards from Kind of a Hurricane Press, Prism Review, and Willow Review, plus he was a finalist in 2016 for the Green Mountains Review Book Prize, Soundings East’s Claire Keyes Award in Poetry, the Iowa Review Poetry Award, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, Oberon Poetry Magazine’s Annual Contest, and New Millennium Writings’ 41st and 42nd Poetry Awards. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Believer, The Malahat Review, Rattle, RHINO, The Rialto, and Subtropics, among others.

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