She called the white ducks with a soft
Clucking of her tongue and they came to
Her busy hands for the hard corn she shelled.
Taking a fat one up in her arms, soothing the
Down with her cheek, she cooed and sang to it,
While the eager beak bit at her palm cup.
She bowed the graceful head down to sleep
Beneath the perfect white wing and keeping
Her place on the long neck, like a finger in a
Book, she brought up the porcelain bowl to
Hold in her knees, in one motion. I can still
See the shining blade layering through the
Orderly feathers, through the sleeping veins.
Headless, featherless duck swam in clear water,
Dark blood, carrots and apples, black prunes,
Parsley, pepper, thyme, until the meat fell
Away from the bone and pieces floated among the
White kluski clouds in a dark brown broth. Every
Bit of the down she saved for small pillows.
When she gave them to my children, she said,
"They won't remember me, so tell them these
Were from the duck feather woman." They took them
Eagerly from her knotted fingers.
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