Snow Duck on the Ides
by Sally Toner

I see the stone creation, smaller than
my neuropathic hand. All thumbs, I stop
and fumble a shot. He’s pocked, throat slit by sleet
and sun, but once upon a time his beak
was bright, the yellow of daffodils that cry
beside him. They’re already dead, whether
cased in glass from weather or man.
The flowerpot man on the corner flashes
with flags on the Fourth of July—a Santa hat
in December; when wind or rowdy kids
destroy, they fix him to resemble human
form again. The duck is different; his grief
is real, compounded and ignored, like poison
in the veins, until the statue, now
a stranger to himself, stares at me,
black spotted face reminding in a whisper
of precipitation, “I’m still here.”

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The Snow Duck (a reflection of the author at present) — March 14, 2017.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Most “lost and found” stories are from a person’s past, but this one literally happened this week. On a very cold, short walk to try and counteract the effects of chemotherapy, I came upon a lawn ornament I have never seen the countless times I’ve been down this path before. It was 70 degrees just last week. There’s no reason why it should be this cold this time of year, and I found myself falling into that self pity trap because I couldn’t even make it halfway around a route I jogged six months ago. Then, walking backwards against the wind, I saw the snow duck and stopped to take a picture. I wondered how long he’d been there, unnoticed. Then it occurred to me that, when awful things happen, we can become unrecognizable even to ourselves. In the end, though, the tiny statue reminded me that, no matter what form I may take in the present, “I’m still here.”


Sally Toner
is a high school English teacher and mother of two who has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for over 20 years. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, The Delmarva Review, and The Great Gatsby Anthology published by Silver Birch Press. You can follow her on Twitter @SallyToner.