The Professional

His face oddly excited, his eyes dangerously eager,
“We’ll raise a couple for Christmas dinner.”
The baby ducks fluffy in their metal bins
Were unaware of what he planned for them.

I couldn’t tell him no, only smile sadly at the ducklings,
He seemed to already know what they would need,
Bought a cart full of supplies and feed,
I had to carry the box with the cheeping victims.

He set up their bedding at home,
Had everything arranged so they’d never know,
Their life wasn’t meant to be long-term.
I had a feeling he’d done this before.

One day, he announced the time had come,
Told me to fetch my ducks and keep them calm.
He broke their necks with his bare hands,
Smiling coldly as their blood ran.

I’d seen that smile before,
He’d worn it when he bought my North Face wardrobe,
To keep me from dressing like “poor white-trash,”
I was told.

And he wore that smile again on our wedding day.
I wish he’d have worn it the day he proposed.
Maybe I’d have known to say ‘no.’
That cold, empty, heartless smile
A sign of victory on his face.

Because the monster I’d married had smiled
The same smile while killing my ducks,
That he’d worn each time his hands wrapped around
My neck,
Trying to squeeze the life out of me.

I had a feeling he’d done all of this before.
Every bit of it,
Quite successfully.


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