beginning with a line from Rafael Campo
My version of the fable goes like this:
The duckling is a duckling, not a freak
mislaid in a dainty nest, no cygnet faker
despite himself. His brothers give him shit
and are, in fact, his brothers, a raft of lemon-
yellow kin who make of him a monster.
The family he finds, he finds in mentors:
a mallard, feathers green upon his melon,
his wingspan slashed with iridescent blue,
and all his handsome, feral, clownish mates
who make the wet about the duckling steam.
They speak of things his family won't: of lube
on rectrices, of corkscrews and their corks.
They know what ugly means, what ugly lusts
for: proving beauty wrong. He loves these sluts,
their brazen flight. Shot, they fall like rocks.
[Thanks to the Bennington Review for originally printing this piece.]