Everyone's Looking for Something

For years now, I have frequented a nearby trail for jogging or walking.  Something about the fresh air and the whispering cottonwoods and the comforting familiarity of the place sparks a certain je ne sais quoi for me.  It seems there are always interesting people and happenings on the trail—or maybe my mind is just sharper to observe detail and think creatively there.  Either way, little things like the following result.
_ _ _

"Have you seen some slippers?"
I was startled out of reverie
as I walked along the river
by this young mother's question.
She was astride a green bicycle;
behind her, a child with sorrowful eyes,
whose Mickey Mouse slippers had fallen off
somewhere along the path.

The next evening another stranger
blurted out a different inquiry:
"Have you seen any ducks?"
His toddler son was on his shoulders,
clutching a bag of bread crumbs.

Everyone's looking for something.

I myself am tempted to ask the next passerby:
"Excuse me, sir, but did you notice
a pile of patience beside the path back there?
I seem to have lost it along the way."

I imagine a little cove on the river,
cleverly hidden from our sight,
where mallard ducks take turns
trying on small Mickey Mouse slippers
and admiring their reflection in the water.
And when one of them takes too long,
the next in line does not quack
his annoyance or stamp his webbed foot,
but calmly helps himself
to another portion of my patience.