On Tuesday

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The arrival of new animal life brings incomparable happiness to children, both exhilaration and tenderness, as this poem portrays, written from the perspective of my then 8-year-old daughter Laura.  The ducklings pictured above are being raised as I post by Hannah, my youngest (with a little prodding from Dad).

ON TUESDAY

On Tuesday
Dad brought home the chicks:
six day-old ducklings
in a little cardboard box:
2 yellow-green,
2 green-brown, and
2 black.
And 2 turklings!
Dad says we’ll eat the turkeys
when they’re grown,
so I’m not allowed to name them.
But the ducklings are my very own.
Already I have named them:
Pumpernickle and Blackbeak,
Wingers and Fuzzles,
Nester and Dandylion.
They paddle prodigiously in the bathtub,
with water not too cold and not too warm.
They shiver and protest at
being wrapped up tightly in a towel.
They huddle under the heat lamp
and peep when I approach.
They bustle about my feet as
I sit in their pen on a cinderblock stool.
They don’t complain when I pluck them up,
but nestle comfortably up under my chin,
as if I were their mamma.
My ducklings are my friends.
They tell me they like me
with their peeping peep peeps.
They tell me they accept me
as they cuddle and becalm.
They tell me they’ll miss me
by the way they look at me
as I walk away for the night.
“Don’t worry, little ducks,” I tell them.
“I’ll be back
Tomorrow.”

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