Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 04/27/22

The Country Uncle

I.

My uncle had a swivel diner stool
set in ground before creek’s decline.
Daily, he used to sit there
with his shotgun.
I would watch
as tiny fireworks of crimson
erupted from jays, cardinals, and wrens.

My aunt ran from the house one day:
“You need more dead birds like you
need a hole in the head,” she said.
At this, he halted
his barrage and took
lower aim at a turtle below.
After his shot, the turtle shell sat
open to blue sky, a vessel of innards.
“Turtle soup,” he laughed, “Turtle soup!”

II.

I was about to poke
with a tire iron, a hornets’ nest
I found along the creek at uncle’s.
Amid barking and a great leap
the retriever, Big Ben
hurtled toward me.
My uncle yelled from
a distance I could not see.
The jaws of the dog clamped round
my hand, forced me with momentum
into the dirt, away from the nest
that grew
in volume.

My aunt screamed
like a bigger woman than she was,
at a run from her berry patch with hoe in hand.
Big Ben loosed the grip of his jaws and my hands
freed I flexed scraped fingers and knuckles.

My Aunt’s screams
joined the dog’s barks that chided me.
My aunt stopped beside us asudden
that the hoe came down faster through
the air than she could have forced it herself.
My uncle leapt up the incline to intercept
the hoe’s downward arc
with big, bar-room brawl,
weld-solder scarred fist.
That day, my uncle and his dog
seemed immortal, and my aunt,
just a little confused.

III.

My aunt’s berry patch
was blocked from road-view
by my uncle’s garage.
Muskrat, rabbit, and raccoon pelts
by dozens hung from the rafters.
She would go on about how
he needed more pelts
like a hole in the head.

My uncle’s garage
had a mechanic’s pit
like the gas-bar at the road’s fork.
All along one wall, there were lined up
cola bottles from as far back as the ’50s.
On the other, clothed
pin-ups promoted tools
and the passage of time.

I was forbidden to enter
the backroom, so I snuck
into that sanctum one day.
The pin-ups there were nude
and Miss August appealed.

IV.

When I was twenty-six
my uncle’s dog left this earth.
Big Ben, had grown morbidly decrepit
so my uncle took him to the field

he had played in since a pup.
My uncle said he didn’t cry
when he shot him,
but I knew he did —
I knew
to look in his life weary eyes…

Now, my uncle’s
weld-solder, scarred hands
have no more fine motor grasp.
My uncle spends the better part
of his days with in-home care.

Doctors needed to make a hole
in his forehead quarter size
to remove a growth
the size of a dime.

He will still sit in that swivel chair
by the creek, but with his hands
empty.

Β©2022 David Alec Knight All rights reserved.

David Alec Knight

David Alec Knight is from Ontario, Canada. Recent poems have appeared in Verse Afire, The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press, and in By The Wishing Tree – A Canadian Poetry Anthology. In 2021, David was recipient of The Ted Plantos Memorial Award for Poetry, 2021. The Heart Is A Hollow Organ (Cranberry Tree Press, 2021) is his first book of poetry. David works in healthcare.

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