Academic journal article Field

Imaginary Friends

Academic journal article Field

Imaginary Friends

Article excerpt

It started with the chicken toy-fuzzy, a foot tall,

bad gift from my mother-in-law. When you pressed

the button it flapped its stubby wings,

played a chorus of the Chicken Dance and wobbled

around in a slow circle, green eyes flashing.

It started by itself one night-I thought

it was a dream, those first two bars, accordion

revving up before the tune kicks in. Half asleep

I shuffled into Henry's room, the child

in his small bed, mouth open, too frightened to cry,

eyes round and dark as bullet holes. In the morning

over breakfast, I said Henry, that was crazy

with the chicken toy and he said Yes, Koala did it.

I told him you'd be mad. And I said, who's Koala?

My friend. He lives in my room. And when I lurched

across the hall a few nights later-dizzy, neck-hairs

prickling, tinny manic squawk of the Chicken Dance,

the toy's slow wobble, green eyes strobing

in the canted dark, I said Henry, you did it, right? …

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