Duane stands on Tadpole Pond bridge,
his grandfather's 1934 Herter's duck caller
tucked in the pocket of his down jacket.
He rubs the caller's amber tip, the worn
walnut body with its circular grooves.
Duane reaches into a plastic bag of oats,
sprinkles a handful to the ducks that skim
and dive. He finesses the ducks, lifts them
up and toward him with his calls; trumpet,
hiss, grunt, bark, squeak, cluck, coo.
Salt water seeps into Duane's rubber
boots, toes itching hot in wool socks.
He calls the ducks by name: mallard,
widgeon, green-winged teal, pintail,
merganser. The names feel smooth
in his mouth, like a lullaby. On calm
days they hear him for miles, wing in
to pluck bread from his fingers.
If you've any comments on
this poem, Rebecca Loudonwould be pleased to hear from you.