this swan had run herself

into a steel wire web

where streetlights hang above the running path

that drapes around our lake

two girls and their mother

called "animal police" they said

in broken English when I asked

I didn't know the beaks of swans

turned blue for any reason but

this one's neck had broken

gracefully, or the opposite of grace:

she was still alive in silence

opening her mouth for air each time

her head rolled and plopped staccato in the water

her vertebrae no longer formed

that immortal swan shape you would recognize

other birds around her honked

two dragged the blue beak back and forth

mercy looked to us on the sand violent

we tried to shoo them off

her dropping head was every kind of pain

not lessened by the other swans

the late animal police

least by our witness