Umbrella’s lighter offshoot



The Difference Between a Duck

by Henry Quince

I posed a riddle that drew no answer:
I asked the difference between a duck.
Mallard or dabbler, teal or merganser—
same difference, I say. Don’t tell me you’re stuck!

This question’s your task, now please begin it:
What’s the difference between a duck?
Logic won’t solve it in half a minute;
You’re most unlikely to crack it by luck.

No use to try a surreal suggestion
like “More kids went to Scout Camp than I did.”
Maybe, but please will you answer the question:
I’m waiting to hear what you’ve decided.

And it doesn’t turn on a silly trick
like “May a man marry his widow’s sister?”
No, the solution won’t make you sick,
nor will you write me off as a twister.

One answer deserving of ridicule
asserts “The higher it flies, the more.”
The singular’s there, but where’s the dual?
Oneness and twoness is at the core.

Now here’s what looks like a pretty good shy:
“One has feathers, the other quacks.”
It may seem apt, but I’ll tell you why
it’s not the best and what it lacks:

Not two ducks were given, but only one,
the difference between which you must name.
The answer—what wonderful webfooted fun!—
“One of its legs are both the same!”

Henry Quince has been an academic, jazz pianist, editor, copywriter, and voiceover man. He’s moved around, but now lives in Australia, near Brisbane. He’s had the odd poem or two published in The Susquehanna Quarterly, Modern Haiku, and Folly.   Visit his Website.