01/23

fifth grader 

ducklings grew like dandelions
in the courtyard, contagious as each year.
their egg-selves still vibrating 
like dead moons. amoung them,
we felt like prophets. fifth graders
with ripe knees & knotted hair.
they darted. hid inside our steepeld fingers.
we took turns watching them. their mother,
like any good blouse, screamed & screamed
about the windows & the sun. nearby
the saucony river turned fabric
in the april laughter. i touched 
the torses of trees like the hems 
of skirts. i tried to read books & gave up,
let them turn back into nestlings. 
mothers pushed children from branches.
i fly briefly from the attic
to the front yard & determined
it would be best to stay yellowing 
as long as i could. duck bills brimmed
over the foreheads of buildings.
in gym class we ran laps around the school
& i dreamed of the ducklings asleep
like hot pockets. eventually they got
too old to keep. their legs turned grey.
their eyes sharpened. they argued
with their mother & the janitors who tried
in vain to teach them how to be children.
in life some is always teaching someone else
who is the child. in the rivers
the ducks shed their duck faces 
& never looked back. daffodils squawked.
the macadem spat rubber balls 
back at us. we played & checked
behind our ears for down feather.
at home, i checked my mother
for webbed feet & hands. i took my age 
& held it until it turned smooth 
as river rock. the ducklings swelled
large as obelisks. i could barely sleep
they were so big. i got older though
& the school dissolved. i found yellow
in the strangest places.
now, i want to be someone's child.
i can be as soft as you want. i can tell you 
where the last feathers went. 

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