By Douglas Steele
In the back seat of Uncle (not really) Moe’s
rusty old Packard that smelled like
burlap bags and pickles
Zooming down River Road
to our weekly ceremony
slaying perch and crappies
while Mom & Dad had them time
according to Unc
My head out to gobspit on a chasing beagle
we hit a b u m p. UP in the AIR
back seat–me and buddy smitty (just along for the ride)
went…the Shakespere reel n rod between us
bouncing rolling slow-dancing along
Sitting up feeling tug:poke
good God – I hooked MY EAR!
i thought < all the fish I’ve missed, won cha know I’d catch myself >.
That was close holy crap look at you smitty laughed
I cried and said God Damn it (just like Grandpa)
and fondled my
NOW it HURT acquired appendage
Uncle Moe braked, with a smoke between his lips…
jesus kid, if yad just sit still, ill pull it out!
We thrashed, I dashed
from the picklemobile
mr Shakespere trailing my full gallop
connected all the while,
with Uncle Moe in tow
He caught me by the big oak
next to the park bench
– the one that shoots slivers –
with a gleaming jack knife,
a snip slice n deed done.
Jesus kid, it’s always somethin with you–
Smokin Uncle dobbing mecuricome
me blowing my nose
hiding the ouch.
There. Now don’t you just look like
the guys and me from the war
I came home
and they didn’t…
Tough guys don’t cry remember that
no bandaid found Uncle heroed duct tape (use #591)
to end the drip drip drip
of my bright red kid blood.
Laid out on the Packard trunk/ coffin
if I die, tell my friends don’t be sad, and jerry can keep my skateboard.
by God, but you’re a chickenshit laughed freckled smitty,
along for the ride.
Who wants a sammich the fish are waitin lets go
back in the Packard hook, pole, smitty, Uncle Moe,
my bloody t shirt and me
great adventures left behind
And went back on down River Road to our spot
my ear never fell off and
that beagle never
Douglas Steele is an author, longtime media personality, and broadcaster. Doug’s current chapbook, Rivers, Streams, and Dreams, is available online. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets, and is founder and sole contributor to the poetic blog, Sunset in Cheeseland.