My friend Debra, who was also my first donor, demanded a sequel to the Single Dad Duck Poem, “with a happy ending!” And I am pretty sure we could all use a nice single-dad-duck-finding-happiness poem right about now.
Single Dad Duck, the Sequel
The difficulties of single duck parenthood
the duckling shouldn’t
eat discarded human food for every meal;
cats will try to eat him;
he must learn to swim,
and be groomed,
they both must stay
near their pond.
Some days single dad duck
remembers what it was like to fly
to other ponds, see
(the squirrels here are rude and
steal cookies from the duckling).
He watches the sky,
baby tucked under his wing and asleep,
and the local hawk
that flies circles and circles
lazy glory in the air.
One day the hawk
swoops low over the pond,
talons stretched out to catch … a fish.
The duckling is yards away,
there’s no threat,
but single dad duck squawks angrily anyway:
“Keep away from my kid!”
The hawk lands,
hobble-hops awkwardly across the ground
to the pond’s edge.
“I don’t eat duck, you’re too greasy.”
And single dad duck is surprised into a laugh.
They’re wary acquaintances first.
Getting to know each other.
Slow to trust. Bonding over the jackassery of squirrels.
The duckling imprints fast on the hawk
and single dad duck worries at night
in case the hawk disappears, as birds of prey
are wont to do. He could fly anywhere
on wings that strong; why would he stay
at their tiny, squirrel-ridden pond?
But he stays.
And he starts bringing things–
sticks and stuffing, snails,
small frogs, fruit.
The hawk chases away a squirrel
that tries to steal the duckling’s hot dog.
He makes a nest, awkwardly,
in between three rocks,
and shows it to single dad duck,
and tentatively butts his head, gentle,
against single dad duck’s shoulder.
And eventually, when the duckling is bigger,
they fly to other ponds together,
see other ducks,
and squirrels (still rude no matter where they live),
a couple of hawks,
but they come back to their nest
and tuck under each other’s wings
This is (a bonus!) part of the Every Single Day Challenge, to raise money for the ACLU. You can donate any time; if you can’t donate, please feel free to signal boost.