top of page
  • Jimmy Broccoli

I Am Not A Swan

“Goodbye, my swan”, I reluctantly say as I watch him drift away…

the water ripples gently behind him as he swims for other waters –

as his eyes and his heart and his head now face a different direction –

there are majestic green trees up ahead -

(they consist of multiple shades of vibrant greens and yellows - with hints of various shades of orange)

– and he wonders what is beneath them – he wonders what is beyond them…

I stand in the water – left behind - unmoving

Unclothed and shivering -

… I am not a swan


“Will anyone be joining you tonight, sir?”, the restaurant host asks

“A table for one, please”, I respond…

“This way, sir”, he says as he leads me to a table in the back of the room

The chandeliers are exquisitely positioned and presented

– they hang from the ceiling bold and opulent

– the white lights blazing wildly across the dimly lit room –

They erupt in magnificent splendor as they blend with the room’s otherwise intentional darkness -

a high-class, uptown setting of brilliance and of abundance

I own only 1 tuxedo (with tails) – and I’m wearing it now…

With a freshly pressed white shirt and cufflinks I borrowed from a friend –

I pay close attention to my posture

I point to my drink selection on the beverage menu because I don’t know how to pronounce it

“That would be lovely”, I respond after the waiter asks if I want a few more minutes to decide on my entrée

The piano player keeps the atmosphere festive and moving –

providing the soundtrack to an enchanting evening…

I’m not familiar with the (particular) piece he is playing –

because I grew up punk –

but I bask in the glory of its atmospheric melody –

I swirl the wine within my glass like I’ve seen fancy people do in the movies –

I sip it slowly and carefully – (the waiter returns to the table)

I point to my menu selection and the waiter nods his head

“Fine choice, sir” he replies

The room is filled with swans and with snakes

…and, I am not a swan


At age nine I first crossed the path of a snake while hiking with my dad –

It was a sizeable serpent – and it looked at me intensely –

his forked tongue slithering in and out of its mouth rhythmically and predictably –

his face only a few feet from mine -

I listened to the incessant rattling of its tail –

“I am not afraid”, I told the snake

“And, I do not mean to scare you”, it replied

My father abruptly took my hand – and we left the snake

“I was not afraid”, I told my dad –

and he did not respond


I order dessert as the assistant waiter takes my now almost-empty dinner plate

(the decorative parsley and orange slice remain) –

The piano player is winding down for the evening and the tables are no longer full…

I walk slowly – and a bit drunkenly – towards the piano player –

my fifth glass of wine firmly in my hand

“Hello, I’m Jimmy”, I tell the piano player –

after he finishes his final song for the evening -

he’s handsome – very handsome


The piano player (his name is Edward) and I sit side-by-side on a swinging bench at the local park

The sky is bright, and the weather is pleasant and mildly humid –

he looks at me sideways with a smile impossible to forget –

“I like you” Edward tells me as he looks at me directly – his gaze not wondering

“I think I might be a snake”, I reply – “I am not a swan”

“why in the world would anyone want to be a swan?”, he gently chuckles -

Again, tilting his head and looking at me as if he is trying to understand me

“I am a duck” he tells me – and I laugh sloppily and immensely

“I like you” he tells me – and my hand is over my mouth

as I realize I just laughed unapologetically and openly – and publicly

“you are not a snake” he tells me with a smile –

a smile impossible to forget


“why were you at the restaurant that night?” he asks me three weeks later –

as he smokes a cig, while seated on my 4th floor apartment balcony

– after an evening of movies and of gentleness and of untellable firsts, I reply…

“I was sad”

He kisses my forehead like he is my guardian –

like I am a childhood teddy bear

“you are not a snake”, he repeats

“you are a duck – a duck like me” – “not a swan – but a duck”

- and I smile from ear to ear because I’m falling in love…

“I am a duck”, I say only moments before he kisses me seductively –

he kisses me like I am his finest symphony


I stand in the same cold water, as I did before –

unclothed and shivering – the swans swimming away from me

(as if they are scared) …

their heads held up high – their direction clear and predictable...

“I am a duck” he tells me, after kissing me sweetly and with passion –

we lay together on a comfortable blanket in the meadow in the park –

“I want to be a duck” I say – I plead –

‘I really want to be a duck – there is nothing I would rather be” –

… and I begin to cry aggressively…

my forked tongue is now exposed and my tongue leaves and enters my mouth rhythmically and predictably…

(I told you I was a snake!)

I swallow him whole – his body within my throat –

He screams – he then quacks (like a duck) –

And I feel him enter my stomach…


“I am a snake – and I don’t want to be!”, I exclaim as my mind violently trembles and revolts…

“You are a snake”, replies the snake…

…then we slither off, together, into the wet grass, my belly full

It is my present

It is my future

… I am not a duck

… I am not a swan

… I am a snake – with a forked tongue that slithers in and out of my mouth, rhythmically and predictably

I just am

Photo: Jimmy Broccoli.

32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page