That Must Be a Duck

1 February 2016

The Indian food was mediocre
but I thought it only
right that we too should
feel the effects of war.

I had been very influenced
by Russia and often fell
asleep thinking of Ivan and
his brothers, of smoked eel,

and oligarchs. “Come,” I told
my mother. “I know where
the coffee is still good.”
Our bicycles were hidden behind

a snow bank guarded by
peasants. My mother gave them
a ten dollar bill then
said, “When the machine breaks,

we break,” They held it
to the light. At the edge
of the city in the clearest
of water we found the dogs

that had adapted. They swam
deep using their wings
as fins. One broke through
the surface. “Look, Ma, they’ve

mastered land, sea, air.” “No,
that’s not possible. That must
be a duck,” she insisted.
“But, Ma,” I said pointing,

“Look, his face. A terrier.”

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