By Margaret Gish Miller
My husband tells me You were laughing
in your sleep. Funny how nightmares haunt,
like an anaconda swallowing your sister,
but how illusive whimsy is.
Sister & I playing at midnight,
a guessing game we make-up with
O, our friend whose father is sleeping.
The night is dark. No moon, creek
running through buried black-
berries, crick of cricket
dusty roads, the pond.
In the freezer, cost-saving loaves of Wonder
Bread sit stacked, ten for a dollar; Hostess
Cupcakes, dozens, quick-sweet snacks,
two rounds of fudge cake, bitter-
sweet chocolate crust, white icing squiggle,
hieroglyphs of happiness. We play
Who am I? while O's father slept,
a pedophile same as our father,
a million files of defilement
in American homes. Yet I
knew no name for it then
and so we played.
First Sis, down on all fours, head swinging. Mickey
I guess right, Mickey, O's sway-backed old horse. Now
O crouches down, waddling on two feet, head jerking—
George Sis cries. Yes, George the duck, who even
at this late hour waddles, quacking Throw me
into the pond—and we do.
As for me, Maggie, I lie on the bed still as a chrysalis
balled in a ball. A turtle, O guesses. No. You slowpoke.
No. Remember—whoever misses gets cupcakes
smashed in the face.
Oh, what a smashing good time—screaming—laughing
waking his father, hearing him cry Get to bed you kids!
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