Duck Hunting with Dad
by Michael Escoubas

It is 3:00 a.m.,
on a windswept November morning.
His baritone voice barely above a whisper
(unusual for him),
Time to hunt ducks,
weíre burniní daylight.
Today, itís just me and my Dad.

Sleepily, I rouse my 11-year-old
frame out from under a pile of wool
blankets, hair tousled beyond repair.
Dad allows me strong black coffee
on duck hunting day. On the way
we eat ham and eggs at a truck stop.

In the blind, we wear hunting clothes
that blend in with cattails and dead
reeds. After loading our shotguns,
we wait. Dad sputters duck quacks
with his homemade call. Sounds like
a real duck. Just before the sun paints

the eastern sky purple and orange
a wedge of Mallards scrapes the horizon—
Iím shaking uncontrollably, afraid to shoot.
Dad trains his Remington like a man born
to the hunt. Two ducks fall like stones.
Lucky, our black lab, dutifully retrieves them.

No matter that these are the only ducks
we see; no big thing that I could not kill
creatures God made so beautiful.
Going home, Dadís baritone resonates,
Itís okay son, you donít have to kill—
Today, I spent a lifetime with my Dad.

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