She shows me the translucent eggs
so big they’re pushing out of their slots
in the cartons. Two are blue-green.
She has no children, tells me how God
put it in her head to get the ducks.
She turned pages of the homestead journal,
knows by heart: they go back to the Rouen,
the upright Runner, the sky blue egg
of the wild mallard, crossbred by an English woman
named Campbell until the birds are khaki brown.
They are hardy in northern winters,
are meaty and earthbound.
Her mother lost the use of her legs
after a stroke seven summers ago,
sat in the kitchen of this old farmhouse
not even caring to do what her body would still do
until the ducklings were brought home to warm
in a box by the stove. And when their fuzz
was stippled with hollow quills
and they were moved to the fence in the yard,
the old woman asked to have her chair moved outside,
the first time in seven years.
The ducks strut back and forth hardly ever flapping
their wings, too heavy to fly.
The old woman picks her way from the stove
to the table. She would have to remember
the dancing in her legs. The blue-green eggs
have only the color of a light sky over water.
Originally Appeared in Blueline
Published by SUNY Potsdam
Editor: Rick Henry; Poetry Editor: Stephanie Coyne-DeGhett