duck duck goose
Once, Mom got us out. Packed my sister
and me into the old wood-paneled van.
Middle of the night, maybe summer.
All in our pajamas at the park. I remember
the gazebo lit up from the middle, though I still can’t
make out Mom’s worried face, or my sister’s
gapped teeth. How memory can shape itself into history:
middle of the night, maybe summer.
The gazebo lit up. But the gazebo never
had any lights. Still, I hold this memory like a map:
once, Mom got us out. Me and my sister.
We played until morning. I imagine I fell asleep in the car,
and Mom carried me inside, but this wasn’t how it happened:
middle of the night maybe summer
escape route wet grass.
It never happened at all—the gazebo never
had any lights. This memory is a map,
but no one else remembers. Look: once Mom got us out.
There’s always been a bullet hole
in the living room window.
Engines of flies gather in fists.
Dad shatters the fishtank,
stumbles to bed.
Dad sets up cans in the yard—
bright lures. We sit in the empty
spa like a trench,
old bb gun against my shoulder.
I’m a good shot.
I ask for a .22 for Christmas. I’m seven.
He laughs proud when he sees it on the list.
I know water
spreads like a web. My toes prune,
picking the fish up.
I’m not angry. I didn’t get the gun.
There’s always been a bullet hole.
It spiders out in tics. Flies find their way in.
Glass is not like water. It cracks or it doesn’t. I pick
the fish up. They flutter in bowls