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This One Kid’s Offertory by Curtis Van Donkelaar

His mother said, “Listen up, little boy. Because my Frere Jacques is about a penguin. He thinks he’s going to be invited to party. He dresses up.” —This Mother Imaginary, a filament, this lowslung song which was the capper of his bedtimes. She would always be this song, long after she was gone: Father Jack and a penguin dressed for the ballet— As he lay under bedsheets, she darkened the room. He had a nightlight, but he could barely make out her features, as though a drain by the closet sucked parts of her down in swirls. She leaned close and her music came sad from the chest, like the scratchy records she played, sometimes into the dawn. She’d go back to the player a dozen times, between refills, to reset the needle to the first song again, the pride and joy of a band he wouldn’t remember. Only the penguin, the waiting, the parties to come. She sang to him and floated, and he heard the needle lifted and replaced, lifted and replaced, the clink of ice in bourbon, too many repeats to stay awake and count. “What comes after the first song?” he’d once asked, and she straightened his pajama collar before the answer: that she wished she played the bass. The string bass. Because those lows are stunning.

Profile for Burner Magazine

Burner Magazine: The MUSIC Issue  

On March 1, 2011, Burner Magazine is excited to unveil Burner 03: The Music Issue, with editorials and features of Yoko Ono, Saul Williams,...

Burner Magazine: The MUSIC Issue  

On March 1, 2011, Burner Magazine is excited to unveil Burner 03: The Music Issue, with editorials and features of Yoko Ono, Saul Williams,...

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