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Poetry Prose and Other Words

by Ken Ingham

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  Whose Duck?

Shots could be heard for over a mile
The hunter's face relaxed in a smile
A wood duck plummeted through the sky
Bee-bees lodged by wing and eye
One hundred pounds of black labrador
Plunged into the chilly reservoir
On the opposite shore, with sun in her face
Stood a woman, watching the deadly chase
Through skillfully focused binoculars
She admired the duck, the brilliant colors
Green and purple and blue, luminescent
The thought of its dying was not so pleasant
And not far beyond swam the ebony retriever
The desire to please in its eyes like a fever

The duck was wounded but still could paddle
It reached the bank and waddled
Up the slope where the woman waited
Unlike any the hunter had dated
This one had been in a lot of fights
An ardent defender of animal rights
She had a presence there in the wood
Firm, like the ground on which she stood

The duck's painful journey finally ended
At the feet of the woman as if it depended
On her to save it from further harm
She took it decisively into her arms
Small quacks of fear emerged from its throat
So she tucked it inside her dark winter coat
Where next to her bosom it settled down
Despite the yelping of the ebony hound
Which, reaching the shore, paused for a shake
Then picked up the scent of the wounded drake
And ran towards the woman, ran right past her
Eager to finish a job for its master
Losing the scent it turned around
Facing the woman who stood her ground
And spoke to the hound "Go home!" ... "Stay!"
But the dripping wet hulk did not obey
Fixed on the scent that emerged from her breast
It slowly advanced, a growl in its chest

"Back off!" said the hunter, emerging from his truck
And then, to the woman "Have you seen my duck?"
A duck which only moments before
Was wild and free, unaccounted for
Feeling a stir beneath her coat
She turned to the hunter and cleared her throat
“I'll keep the duck” the woman said
"It maybe can't fly but its not dead.
I'll take it home 'til it gets back its nerve
Then turn it loose in a game preserve"

"That duck belongs to me" he replied
The dog was restless, still rumbling inside
The woman turned and walked toward her car
"Wait a minute! Who do you think you are?"
He followed her, took hold of her wrist
"Don't touch me!" she said, unmistakably pissed
Her hair glistened in the evening sun
Her shapely denims broke into a run
The dog chased behind, nipping, touching
She tripped over him, the duck still clutching
As she tried to get up, the dog with a heave
Knocked her down and tugged violently at her sleeve
Its teeth accidentally punctured her skin
Blood rose to the surface . . did rabies go in?

"Back off, Bituminous!" the hunter thundered
The dog was confused, unaware of its blunder
At the tone of its master's voice it came cowering
The duck's scent almost but not quite overpowering
The hunter pointed and nodded toward the pickup
A signal Bituminous had known since a pup
He leaped into the cab through a window left open
And sat there breathing, tongue hanging, mouth open

The woman had escaped to her car, locked the door
While wrapping the duck in her coat on the floor
She noticed the blood on her hand, felt the pain
Got some on her jeans, made a dark stain
She reached for the keys, then came a reminder
The hunter's truck was parked right behind her
She rolled down the window, unwilling to smile
"The dog's had shots but its been a while
You'd better see a doctor soon
Let me drive you to the emergency room"

They rode in the truck, not speaking, just glancing
Bituminous in the back with darkness advancing
They reached the clinic and parked the truck
He opened the door, she got out with the duck
"You're taking it with you?" he said in amazement
As she started with the bundle across the pavement
"What did you expect me to do?
Leave it there in the truck with you?
You tried to fill it with lead!
If it weren't for me this duck would be dead!"
The hunter shook his head, "I've done nothing wrong"
to the dog he said "Stay" and followed along

Inside, as usual, the myriads were seated
Impatiently waiting their turn to be treated
"Your insurance card please?" she fumbled in her purse
Then transferred the bundle to him with a curse
"I'll keep your coat while your busy, hon.
I promise to give it back when you're done"

Back in the lobby the hunter was struck
By the feel of the life of a wild duck
The warmth, the breathing, the gentle beating
Of the heart of the thing that he would have been eating
He stroked its body and breathed a prayer
Made a small opening to provide some air
People gathered around, children and moms
"Can it fly?" said one of the littlest ones
The duck was now peaking out of the coat
"Not yet" said the hunter, a lump in his throat
"We'll take it home 'til it gets back its nerve
And then set it free in a game preserve"

Shots could be heard for over a mile
The hunter's face relaxed in a smile
A wood duck plummeted through the sky
Bee-bees lodged by wing and eye
One hundred pounds of black labrador
Plunged into the chilly reservoir
On the opposite shore, with sun in her face
Stood a woman, watching the deadly chase
Through skillfully focused binoculars
She admired the duck, the brilliant colors
Green and purple and blue, luminescent
The thought of its dying was not so pleasant
And not far beyond swam the ebony retriever
The desire to please in its eyes like a fever

The duck was wounded but still could paddle
It reached the bank and waddled
Up the slope where the woman waited
Unlike any the hunter had dated
This one had been in a lot of fights
An ardent defender of animal rights
She had a presence there in the wood
Firm, like the ground on which she stood

The duck's painful journey finally ended
At the feet of the woman as if it depended
On her to save it from further harm
She took it decisively into her arms
Small quacks of fear emerged from its throat
So she tucked it inside her dark winter coat
Where next to her bosom it settled down
Despite the yelping of the ebony hound
Which, reaching the shore, paused for a shake
Then picked up the scent of the wounded drake
And ran towards the woman, ran right past her
Eager to finish a job for its master
Losing the scent it turned around
Facing the woman who stood her ground
And spoke to the hound "Go home!" ... "Stay!"
But the dripping wet hulk did not obey
Fixed on the scent that emerged from her breast
It slowly advanced, a growl in its chest

"Back off!" said the hunter, emerging from his truck
And then, to the woman "Have you seen my duck?"
A duck which only moments before
Was wild and free, unaccounted for
Feeling a stir beneath her coat
She turned to the hunter and cleared her throat
“I'll keep the duck” the woman said
"It maybe can't fly but its not dead.
I'll take it home 'til it gets back its nerve
Then turn it loose in a game preserve"

"That duck belongs to me" he replied
The dog was restless, still rumbling inside
The woman turned and walked toward her car
"Wait a minute! Who do you think you are?"
He followed her, took hold of her wrist
"Don't touch me!" she said, unmistakably pissed
Her hair glistened in the evening sun
Her shapely denims broke into a run
The dog chased behind, nipping, touching
She tripped over him, the duck still clutching
As she tried to get up, the dog with a heave
Knocked her down and tugged violently at her sleeve
Its teeth accidentally punctured her skin
Blood rose to the surface . . did rabies go in?

"Back off, Bituminous!" the hunter thundered
The dog was confused, unaware of its blunder
At the tone of its master's voice it came cowering
The duck's scent almost but not quite overpowering
The hunter pointed and nodded toward the pickup
A signal Bituminous had known since a pup
He leaped into the cab through a window left open
And sat there breathing, tongue hanging, mouth open

The woman had escaped to her car, locked the door
While wrapping the duck in her coat on the floor
She noticed the blood on her hand, felt the pain
Got some on her jeans, made a dark stain
She reached for the keys, then came a reminder
The hunter's truck was parked right behind her
She rolled down the window, unwilling to smile
"The dog's had shots but its been a while
You'd better see a doctor soon
Let me drive you to the emergency room"

They rode in the truck, not speaking, just glancing
Bituminous in the back with darkness advancing
They reached the clinic and parked the truck
He opened the door, she got out with the duck
"You're taking it with you?" he said in amazement
As she started with the bundle across the pavement
"What did you expect me to do?
Leave it there in the truck with you?
You tried to fill it with lead!
If it weren't for me this duck would be dead!"
The hunter shook his head, "I've done nothing wrong"
to the dog he said "Stay" and followed along

Inside, as usual, the myriads were seated
Impatiently waiting their turn to be treated
"Your insurance card please?" she fumbled in her purse
Then transferred the bundle to him with a curse
"I'll keep your coat while your busy, hon.
I promise to give it back when you're done"

Back in the lobby the hunter was struck
By the feel of the life of a wild duck
The warmth, the breathing, the gentle beating
Of the heart of the thing that he would have been eating
He stroked its body and breathed a prayer
Made a small opening to provide some air
People gathered around, children and moms
"Can it fly?" said one of the littlest ones
The duck was now peaking out of the coat
"Not yet" said the hunter, a lump in his throat
"We'll take it home 'til it gets back its nerve
And then set it free in a game preserve"