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Duck eggs, a poem by Eric Chiles

Duck eggs

The ducklings would start to appear

two months after Easter. More mess

than cuteness by then, families

abandoned them in Monocacy Park.

By summer's end, flotillas of white

would raft the creek's rapids.

Uneducated orphans, the ducks didn't

know how to nest, so when the eggs

came, they dropped them in the cool

waters where they stood out like alabaster

pebbles. My father, with hungry mouths

to feed, recognized a welcomed bounty.

If the ducks didn't know how to nest,

my parents did. There were eight of us

by then, a ravenous rabble gobbling up

whatever my mother set on the table.

So my father started wading the creek

collecting the chilled eggs.

Most of us feasted on scrambled

duck eggs, pumpkin rolls and cakes

all enriched with dark orange yolks.

Except me. Eggs were supposed to come

from chickens and in a box bought

at the grocery store. Not a dirty creek.

So while my siblings giggled over

Mom's gooey chocolate gobs, I glared

wondering why she wouldn't use

store-bought eggs. What foolishness

I realize, as I whisk some from the coop

for this ham and cheese omelette.

Eric Chiles, a graduate of I.U.'s graduate writing program and a former newspaper editor, is an adjunct professor of writing and journalism. He is the author of the chapbook "Caught in Between" (Desert Willow Press), and his poetry has appeared in such journals as The American Journal of Poetry, Blue Collar Review, Canary, Main Street Rag, Plainsongs, Rattle, Sport Literate, San Pedro River Review, Tar River Poetry, and Third Wednesday.