Not much older than four

he speaks with the voice of a duck

and walks like an odd one


No doubt what he’s got he gets

from his half deaf grandmother

seated in the shade over the picnic bench

in a park by the ocean,

her words so loud and tough

they turn heads


“Eat your goddamned mushrooms, Arly

Picked ’em myself”


“No fuckin’ way, Gramma

They taste like mud”


“Arly, lordy be,” she says to herself,

sifts through leaves of lettuce

on a thrift store plate with an old fork,

looks up into the waving canopy,


then down to see how Arly

jumps high off his seat,

duck walks across the grass

to watch other kids

fight over swing sets,


how firmly he stands

duck footed

under looming eucalyptus trees,


how far he stands to go