I have wanted that duck for as long as I can remember.
it sat on my mother's dresser in her bedroom in Lombard, IL
and I looked up at it from the ground level,
I remember reading to my grandmother when I didn't even know how
and looking up at that duck from the floor at the foot of her rocking chair.
I loved that duck.
I loved that duck when I snuck into her bedroom to smell
the single perfume bottle on her dresser,
I loved the duck even when I was packing a bag to leave that
house in Lombard, IL, forever, when even the duck could
not keep me there anymore.
I think I left my mother the note that I was leaving next to the duck,
the note that left her reeling.
I didn't mean to hurt her.
Being there just hurt me too much to stay and I snuck
away while she was at work.
She came home to find the note tucked under the feet of the duck,
my bedroom empty.
The duck was the witness to all that.
So many years ago now.
The duck is sitting on my dresser now on the rabbit skin
that I've had since my daughter was a little girl,
probably about the same age as she was in the photo.
The duck was my grandmother's and maybe her mother before.
One day my daughter will have the duck.
She just doesn't know it yet.