“The Man in the Duck Suit” by Martin Espada

Todd’s good friend from college is celebrated poet Martin Espada. He composed this recently for Todd and it was read at the New York memorial on Sunday. More of Martin’s work can be found at http://www.martinespada.net

The Man in the Duck Suit
For Todd Godwin (1957-2011)

He wore a duck suit for my Super 8 movie,
back in the days when I wanted to make movies,
before I found out that I couldn’t buy
cameras or film with food stamps. I borrowed
a camera and a shotgun, then rented a duck costume
for the star of my crime thriller, In Cold Duck.

In between takes, he would pull the duck’s head off
and tuck it underneath his arm, half-human, half-waterfowl,
curly beard and bright yellow feathers, a creature from the mythology
of ancient Assyria pontificating in a New Jersey British accent
about the art of improvisation. Later, after the last take,
he wandered out onto my porch in full duck regalia,
waving the shotgun at passing cars on Johnson Street.

Thirty years later the hunters of Wisconsin still shiver in the reeds
as they recall the Monster Duck who hunted humans.  I know
he was only a man in a duck suit, a secret I can now reveal.
He was my Bigfoot, glimpsed on grainy film, the camera shaking.

(Copyright 2011 Martin Espada)


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