Duck Fat by Audrey Gidman

A duck makes a good gift. A dead
duck. Neck full of bones. Tender,

she says. C’est très bien. The best
Her tongue slips,

even now, after so long. I ask
her if she misses France.

She hands me a duck & says
nothing. Later, in the kitchen,

I pull the wings apart at the joint,
peeling & smearing fat

& puckered skin, loosening
until they unhinge.

I slip my finger somewhere
between the sternum

& the inside of the ribs,
push through the dark hollow

of carcass & twist
the spine until it pops

at the vertebrae, body
in two. I pile

the pieces in a pot to simmer,
imagining my mother’s

hands as I work. Slender & olive-
skinned. I know she worries

I do not have enough
so she taught herself to kill. I coil

the neck around the breast,
trying to make it fit. It bends

in a way mine could. My mother
says we do what we have to do.

The word mother gets stuck
in her throat like a bone.


Audrey Gidman is a queer poet living in Maine. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in SWWIM, Wax Nine, The Inflectionist Review, The Shore, Luna Luna, Rogue Agent, The West Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, body psalms, winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize, is forthcoming from Slate Roof Press. Twitter // @audreygidman.

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