We didn’t go on many trips
and I think I remember them all
except for the capitol.
But you weren’t alive for that one.
Anyway, now that it’s not the beginning anymore
I am wondering how to keep track.
We used to measure things on the
nuck nuck nuck of a metronome
with a half beat to turn pages and check key,
just enough space to wriggle our shoulders
into place beside the others
(our hips were quite small then).
We used to count, just number after number,
to pass the time on our trips.
Remember we waited for the riverboat for
so long and how it didn’t
matter when we boarded, how
he put me up in front, said I’d be
steering all these people and oh!
how I tugged the wheel to the left just a little
towards the birds on the banks—
We all know I didn’t mean a thing by it,
I just wanted to rule for a moment,
but we only milled straight forward
and no one had to tell me that things were
no longer in my hands.
So I took them off, held the wooden animals we’d bought
in my pocket, and waited for the ride to end
while you hung out the side of the boat,
wrist deep in the still brown water.


Katy Clayton hates these things. But she’s a child of the Catskills, most at home around a bonfire or in the kitchen, cooking meals from her father’s garden. Send her an email at

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