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.