Thursday, March 16, 2023


He was a good duck, if a little avoidant and non-comital. In fact, it was perphaps his side-eyed consideration of situations that kept Pocky earth side for so long. He was part of the "Original Gang" of eight ducklings that arrived here by post in February of 2020. Two of those ducklings died early on; one of a respiratory condition, and the other trampled by siblings. All of that original crew were named after our childhood words for objects and ideas. "Pocketwock" was Helen's toddler way of saying "pocket watch." I sometimes called him Pocket, because he seemed like a true pal, the way a pocket is always there for you, to hold what your hands must let go. Pocky was all brown, a chocolate runner duck, and his partner, "Cawcoff," named for Helen's toddler word for "washcloth," was one of the most vocal ducks of the bunch. 

I've learned that spring is a terrible season for ducks on a farm. While the weather warms, and trees bud, the foxes have their kits, and they need to be fed. They are fed at the ongoing Duck Parade Buffet, which happens at dusk on the apron of the pond. Foxes are bold. I've shaken my staff at their glowing eyes and they do not startle. I have some respect for them and their abilities. Their determination. Everyone wants to live. I just wish they were vegetarian.

Bisti (Bistigetti -- my father's childhood way of saying "spaghetti"), is the last of the Original Gang. Last night he wouldn't go into the run. He kept vigil just outside it, looking for Pocky, who never showed. He knew the pattern was upset, and that his last sibling was gone.

Now they are a dozen ducks, the last one a memory of my father, and the rest named after favorite foods, performers, and childhood tv shows: Bisti, Pip, Marceau, Tati, Great Zuccino, Moderate Zuccino, Mr. Rogers, Hatchy Milatchy, Kewpie, Yuzu, Tadpole, Pickle. 

I like to think of Pocky, Cawcoff, Sardine, Tot, Tomato, Potato, EB, Mushroom, Clo, Binder, Moonlight, and The Lizard of Oz, as all having packed up their bindlesticks to go seek fortune in New York City, the farm life no longer big enough a pocket to hold all their dreams.

No comments: