Atwater Village, Los Angeles

June 9, 2017

Despite all the pavement and visible litter,
the Los Angeles River still hosts much life.

Snowy egrets stood watch on the stones while the gulls swooped around.

In the shallows, black-necked stilts, mallards, and coot were all busy pecking and dipping for something tasty beneath the surface—
Except the cormorant, piously sunning himself,
arms outstretched like Moses.

I ventured down the steep paved banks,
wondering if the textured sides had a sincere engineering purpose.

Up close you could see some pink froth clinging to the grasses,
as if the river recently convulsed,
or more likely in LA, was just stumbling in,
still soiled and drunk from last night’s revelry.

Down at the river’s edge,
the soothing babble was louder than the traffic noise.
I crouched to catch a video and noticed
an eddy of orangey froth
with a plastic water bottle caught in it’s vortex
bobbing helpless in place.

I headed back up the steep embankment,
and passed a weathered Latino
wearing a “Hulu Casual Season 3” t-shirt.

I watched him turn off the path,
down to the riverside I just left.

He dropped his backpack
pulled out a bag

and began throwing breadcrumbs to the mallards.

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