Black-bellied Whistling Ducks


Strange, new, and unexpected,

The pair of them were there,

Close to the road.


One stood erect, tall, eyes wide.

The other had thrust its off-red bill into the swamp’s muck, and

Appeared to be trying to pry something from the swamp floor.

Mauve, black, and beiges they were,

With a narrow band of black from neck to crown.


They seemed happy enough,

One erect, one probing muck,

While the afternoon wore on

With the rookery as its stage.


Later, when the surprise of seeing them had subsided, and

We were back home,

We listened to the great duck’s whistling call,


Now, days later,
The memory of the ducks and their haunting call

Colors my afternoon.


--May 26, 2013