Return of the Wild Duck – by RON GIBSON

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Return of The Wild Duck by RON GIBSON 

I walk into a forest, beaver ponds of night pooled between treetops,
stars firing the surface like uncatchable trains. As dawn slowly
uncrosses itself and shadows lengthen, the forest is strange. I don’t
recognize certain trees or foliage. And the ones I do recognize, I
don’t know the names of. This scares me. Memories of snowflakes
migrate from the mouth of Jack London, tumbling down river valleys and
mountain passes and freeze my steps. I check my pockets. No phone. An
app would tell me how to live. I would laugh at that, but instead I
feel the plunging front of nature’s what-if loop explode transformers,
shut down logic centers and encase me in glass.

This is what life turns into — long, dark stretches of time. Whole
cities bathed in amnesia. I don’t know how long I stand. Cartoon-red
wolves eyes for nightlights. They surround, howl creation stories too
beautiful to be remembered, bristly hairs etch escape plans on frozen
skin with each swipe as the pack chases after unanswered phone calls
echoing in the trees from my lost phone.

Without answering it, I know it is you. I miss you, I miss us, but I
know I have not written a word. I know that somewhere in the moving
world deadlines keep passing without a whisper. I know the shame of a
job not done at all. And though this pack of starving wolves hunger
for escape, for you, for that love scene where we are two wild animals
without words, I can’t forget that I’m a writer without words. Even as
incisors and rough tongues destroy ice and crumble time, shortened
days pass into night within milliseconds. The sun becomes a cursor,
blinking impatiently for my return.



***Ron Gibson, Jr. has previously appeared in Pidgeonholes, Cease,
Cows, Maudlin House, Word Riot, Exquisite Corpse, Spelk Fiction,
Soundzine, etc…, forthcoming at Story and Picture & Ginosko Literary
Journal, been included in various anthologies, and been nominated for
a Pushcart. Ron tweets at:  or simply, @sirabsurd ***

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