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"Randy Refuses to Go to Town" by Jacalyn den Haan

He wouldn’t take her to the city. He would keep her

safe beside himself, in his arms. Dead but still singing.

On his peeling doorstep, piles of leaflets advertising

opportunities outside the Opera House, letters

from Youtube fans in Sydney, beseeching him. His old

wall phone rang off the hook, but he would not capitulate.

It’d take him three hours, driving east from the Blue

Mountains, along strawberry fields and kangaroos, and he

wouldn’t do it. He’d keep her to himself.

He cried when he found her body, Myrtle, his favourite

goat. Then he set to work, skinning her, taking

exact measurements of her head, her hind, her hips.

Fitting her with pipes and music, cradling her

to his chest and pushing music into her lungs. And sharing her

tunes on the Internet, in memoriam. Now they wanted him

to perform her among skyscrapers and screeching pigeons,

but he wouldn’t go. Born in the outback,

raised in a village, he wouldn’t go. It was too far,

he said. Too much, but really he refused to share her.

Refused to let others love her the way he loved her.

He wanted to be the only one. Just him, his

best goat turned bagpipes, and his everlasting love.

Jacalyn den Haan is an emerging writer hailing from Vancouver, BC and currently living in Montreal, Quebec. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in The Windsor Review, Savant Garde, and EVENT magazines, among others. Her debut poetry chapbook, Selected Leavings, was published in 2021 through Montreal’s Cactus Press and is now in its third printing.

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