Today's poem is by Gabriel Gudding


The duck is attacking Humpty Dumpty. She
          is brutalizing him.

They are filling up the oasis with shouts.

Realizing he must fight for his life,
          Humpty begins to roll vigorously
          about the sand dunes, attempting to knock the duck over.

Every so often the egg stops rolling, gets
          his bearing, beats his chest fiercely
          (but not so hard as to crack himself)
          and starts rolling again,
          trying to knock the duck over.

Of a sudden, Humpty stops
          and shrieks, "Mother?!
          Is that you?"

For who would have considered what kind of egg
          was Humpty Dumpty?
          I always assumed large chicken
          goose, once I thought, "Oh he's
          pterodactyl f’r sure."
          But never, "Duck."

"Mom! It's you, isn't it!"

And as the duck fumbled for an appropriate response,
          and just as Humpty was gathering himself
          so that he could articulate

his rage and confusion and resentment
          at his mother's behavior,

a duckling's head burst through Humpty's shell at his shoulder.

Albumen was everywhere.

Then the duckling’s snot head periscoped
around and dumped its beak into the pot of Humpty’s head.

And kicking the bottom out of him, the duckling orgasmed
itself from the warm shards and faced its mom. And the mother,

in an arpeggio of duck noise,
ran to embrace
her true child.

Copyright © 2002, 2003 Gabriel Gudding All rights reserved
from Green Mountains Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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