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Nicole Hefner's poems, stories and essays have appeared in many publications including Painted Bride Quarterly, Washington Square, New York Quarterly and The National Literary Review. She was a finalist in the Iowa Review's Award for Literary Nonfiction and was named Notable Reading for The 2004 Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a Language Lecturer at New York University and lives in Brooklyn with her fiance. More info can be read on her blog

The Thief

My mother,
and earlier mentioned,

the six ducks
in her pond

were replaced
by six ducks
from another pond.

Coney Island bound
on the F train,
I wonder

who could be
for such a cruel act.

Her dead mother,
though much missed,
is, in fact, dead.

Her former husband’s
bitter bones
were removed

at an early age,
and I,
never gold,

have been too busy
boiling eggs,
feeding cats,

shaving armpits
and legs
to have an idea

so oddly pure.
But the moon is wide,
and deep into Brooklyn

it strikes me
that perhaps
she is crazy—

my beautiful,
near hipless,
red-lipped mother—

perhaps she
has taken leave
of her senses.

My mouth opens
to protest—
my thumbs

shoot out
for a ride to Oklahoma—

I try to speak
when a duck,
a single white duck,

and another,
and four more,
trot off

my red carpet

I suppose,
for the ocean—
that warm tub

the billy goats
rarely go.

October, night

yes the leaves will change
fish-skins to red then ragged

yes the snow will fall
spring come in

how do you say it?
like a lion, out, a lamb

summer will stick to us
we’ll get a new fan

a fly swatter
lie naked again

our window’s view
will change a hundred

times a hundred more
but tonight heart

plump and red
you beat perfect

tonight heart
you have never been wrong

never wronged
sweet apple

go go


Copyright © 2007 Nicole Hefner