I duck out from the reception—the dancing too surreal, the band too alive, the newly-married too happy, the margaritas too soft. I take a path to a hummock to a stream where I find a duck I recognize from a story my mother once told. A duck that carries people to the other side. I tell her I should get back, pointing toward the reception that’s gone quiet and feels a lifetime ago, and now she’s large enough to carry me. She lowers her head, asking me to climb aboard. To where—not across this timid stream, not across this land where the mosquito is the most common bird. I do. Over what. To where. She’s warmer than the stories had warned. Her wings steady as heartbeat. When she glides, the world around us goes silent as for the dead.
Joel Hans has published prose in West Branch, No Tokens, Puerto del Sol, The Masters Review, and others. He received his MFA from the University of Arizona and continues to live in Tucson, Arizona with his family. He can occasionally be found on Twitter @joelhans