Port Deposit 1965

When I was very small I had a friend
Whom I called Ducky, which was apropos
Because he was. My sister would pretend
That he was just a toy; he wasn’t, though.
To prove to her that Ducky could, too, swim,
I filled the tub and Ducky spun around
In small, concentric circles. Jeering him,
My sister said, “If he’s alive, he’s drowned!”
You see, I used to hold him by the throat
And all his vertebrae were so relaxed
He couldn’t lift his head, so, like a boat
With one oar dipped, his way-making was taxed.
I swore he’d swum; my sister called me liar.
My mommy warmed up Ducky in the dryer.


First Ones Up

Slanting yellow light
Footie PJs, sleeping bag
Mostly dry inside

Pad across the house
Past the picture window pool
Toward the sound of food

In a storybook
Eyes that twinkle mean you’re safe
Even far from home

Scottish plaid nightdress
Orange juice and buttered toast
We’re the first ones up