“duck duck goose” by Caitlyn Curran

issue 83

Found in Willow Springs 83

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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.


Fish tank


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

until morning.

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