Thomas Reynolds The 2River View, 9.4 (Summer 2005)


My old man
traps the south bank of Sand Creek
in a flat-bottom row boat.
At dawn, lower lip packed with Red Man,
shoulder strung with blood-flecked traps,
he trolls the broken limbs, stumps,
and rank stew-like swamp,
tripping over frozen deer turds
back to his hidden places,
sizing up the beaver or fox
with his bent hickory cane
and smashes its skull
with one fierce quick stroke.

The old son of a bitch
hit me yesterday
to warn me not to run away again,
and so I slept in the shed
curled up like a racoon cub,
dizzy like the sparrow that
cracked the kitchen window
and fell back stunned and throbbing.

his coyote
chews up two of his boots
and his leather poncho
and growls when I make a move
for the door. To distract him
I toss him the old man's wallet.

Sitting on the woodpile,
I can hear him barking,
a mixed-up crazy thing
that would chew off his foot
to break for the woods.

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