The Widow Reminisces Over a Plate of Vegetables

(The original poem from which the comic was adapted.)

She has learned to love the sound of ducks,
because they remind her of her husband’s hands:
the way they smelled of oil and gun-metal.
In those last years, he
couldn’t even hold a pen to sign his name.
But when he presented her with a fresh carcass—
his hands were perfectly steady in those moments,
the moments of his pride.

She cleaned the bodies dutifully,
stripping away the feathers, the feet, the head—
such things had been the gift of man for woman
for thousands of years, and he still believed
these ducks were prizes for the woman he loved.
She never faltered as she worked on the little bodies.
She never loosed the bile in her throat,
even as they shared the meat at dinner.

When she eats alone—every night
for almost two years now—she thinks of
those meals that she hated so much…
and then she thinks of how he would softly touch her lips,
filling her with the gun-metal smell of his hands.

And now, whenever she hears ducks,
she wishes them dead—every one of them—
if only he could bring them into their kitchen himself,
one feathered carcass at a time.