Patricia Horn O'Brien

Adrift

September 24, 2018

 

A shipping container of rubber duckies made in China for the United States washed overboard in 1992, and some of them had traveled and washed ashore over 17,000 miles over 15 years.

Let’s go ahead and assume it’s yellow.
What little of science I know:
its plastic skin invincible against salt water,
but not the sun–
we can only ask so much.
Will it fade or brown?
What I mean to say is
I would want one of these
for my daughter:
its internal clock set to the mercy of the currents
that have been predictable for centuries,
but mercy is not the word anyone
would choose.
Sometimes not making sense and floating
are the same.
Each wave is its own beginning and ending.
Through international waters,
you could have caused an incident:
no one knowing you,
never reaching the hands that hoped for you.
Rough immigrant, or
free refugee–
floating flagless,
fading border,
stamped with words but not your name.

 

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