May 27, 2011

Douglas Goetsch


A ring of children seated Indian style,
          a girl deciding which head to tap
                    as she orbits them in her pretty dress

saying Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck.
          Every boy wants to be the goose,
                    to bolt up and run down this girl

before she makes it around
          to the spot he vacated. Once         
                    they saw her trip and fall, exposing

a lovely backside covered in lace.
          Maybe that is why their heads rise
                    like charmed snakes as she passes

saying Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck
          annoying the girls in the circle, who frown,
                    and attracting now the attention

of their teacher, leaning against a tree,
          bringing her gaze down from the clouds
                    where she had been pondering two men—

the one she recently broke up with
          filling her with regret about the much
                    better, more beautiful one from college.

Now she is twenty-nine, on perhaps
          the last warm day of September,
                    the smartest, prettiest girl in the class

is going Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck
          in an endless left hand turn,
                    and she can’t figure out whether

the girl is powerful or helpless,
          as she blinks back tears and blows
                    the whistle to end this.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006
Rattle Poetry Prize Honorable Mention

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