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.

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Fun With Flags

I have devices all my own
With which I play when I’m alone.
They smell like sadness on vacation
Plus that dizzy-sick sensation
That you get from crying in
An elevator filled with men
Who won’t admit they want your shoes–
They do, but they just flat refuse
To tell you so, because they’re free!
It stinks, but that’s democracy.