Daniel Pinkerton

The plane went down over there. She indicates a patch of lawn circumscribed by swing set, tool shed, above-ground pool. The sod looks unmarred, the shed intact, the pool unblemished. Survivors? I ask. The pilot was relentless, she says, barking orders straight away. The passengers pitched in hauling debris. They grabbed what they could and left through the hedge. My office of late has been swamped with similar accounts, beleaguered by such “witnesses.” This one's pretty, though her legs need shaving. What would you have me do? I ask. Beats me, she says. I just thought I should report it. Adjoining the woman's shed is a steel enclosure which houses a duck. What's the duck's name? I ask, at a loss. She shrugs, looks away, toward a sky that hangs above us like ballast over a stage. I never named him, she admits, for fear of growing too attached.






I'm not sure this led to the writing of "Alleged Aviation Disaster...," but I did have a childhood friend who kept a pet duck in a steel cage next to his garage. The duck's name was Long Duck Dong, a cultural reference totally lost on me at age nine. The duck simply disappeared one year without much fanfare—sort of like the airplane in the poem, I guess. Though in the case of Long Duck Dong, my suspicions are that he was roasted with a nice orange glaze.