Cover Photo: An image of a woman in park with tree surrounding her
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult

Universe With No Fictional Films

I was afraid of being kidnapped.

Catapult magazine · Listen to Kristen Steenbeeke

Let’s just say I know my public parks. Have gleaned the grove’s concrete statues. Walked beside creeks. Plastic bags caught up on the rocks. I was afraid of being kidnapped. I was caught up on the rocks. When I was kidnapped, my worry was confirmed and I was honestly pretty proud. Along the trail you can see a mausoleum you can see right thru it to the graveyard. I was caught up on the rocks, my body in the creek bloated with brown water. Fuzzy reeds in the direct sun. Leftover ramen packet shellacked to my rotting foot. Are people essentially bad? a scavenging rottweiler seems to ask. I used to imagine that I’d do a great job acting out a scene in which I confront my mother’s hypothetical murderer in jail. Manic laughter and hair ripping. “There’s no use bringing up the past,” says the woman with the spotted golden doodle, into her phone. I’m still walking, I walk past her, I’ve reached a crosswalk. From all sides there are cars, and the cars are full of men, and the men are full of thoughts unknown. One will smile as he recalls a little ditty.

Kristen Steenbeeke graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship. She won Indiana Review’s 2017 Poetry Prize and has had work in Electric Literature, Bennington Review, Tagvverk, Sixth Finch, Gramma, Pinwheel, Pleiades, Tin House online, Bat City Review, and Poetry Northwest, plus work forthcoming in Oversound.