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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 3: May 2020
Prose Poem: 199 words
By Paul-Victor Winters

Steamer Duck in the Garden of Eden


She flew, until the young Cain’s shot brought her down into the marsh of the garden of caws and whistles ringing, plump plums dropping to the sandy earth like water-logged fruit bats, where Mother was always shamed and full-bellied. The duck’s midair movement was like a pale ribbon in a breeze. Cain could not ignore it, gifted as he was with human bloodlust and jealousy. His body, delivered here on the viable earth, was a mere bag of rage, incestuous impulse, blood and fibers. Why am I? he asked the sky, its bright vessels buzzing and hovering and then departing. Nothing, said the then-vacant heavens. Nothing more and nothing of note. How to recognize a dream from a full-bodied reality—feathers and apricots, a cow’s gassy bellow, smell of storm. Damn the steamer her flight, he thought, and damn the mole his sight. He buckled equine knees. He boxed the oversized heads of cattle. He went on a spree, coaxed the voice out of the crustaceans, damned swine to awkwardness. Cocksure and trembling, this first hijacker, first Barbarian. First to go. First to leave a bruise.

Paul-Victor Winters
Issue 3, May 2020

is a public school teacher, poet, and essayist currently self-isolating in southern New Jersey. His poems appear in anthologies from Jane Street Press, Serving House Books, and others, and in numerous journals including decomP, Eyedrum Periodically, KYSO Flash, and The Literary Review.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Blue, climate-crisis haibun in KYSO Flash (Issue 5, Spring 2016)

Untitled (Future), lineated poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 5)

Yellow, prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 5)

Five Poems in Serving House Journal (Issue 12, Spring 2015)

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