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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From my Chair


My mind reaches back to the first drops of rain on a deserted dirt road
Where a barefoot boy stood before a wooden bridge
And scuffed his calloused soles against the red and pungent dust
The mountain laurel was in bloom and the blackberries were ripening
His dirty white tee shirt and ragged jean shorts were stained with adventure
Pockets bulged with pebbles or marbles; wooden thread spools that
Had just a bit of thread left on them
He used them to tie the June bug’s leg and made a toy from his efforts to escape
With a jackknife the spools could be notched and threaded through the center
A few broken matchsticks wound the rubber band drive
And it would tumble awkwardly across the hard wooden floor of home
Homemade whistles, wooden swords and daggers were all products
Of the genuine Barlowe pocket knife he received for his eighth birthday
He’d saw another kid break his handle throwing his at a stump
He vowed never to treat his own treasure so recklessly
Walking back from the creek; a mile up the road, he would be soaked
By the time he reached the back door but there was a rack of clean towels just inside
He only had to be sure not to stain any of the “good towels”
But he disliked them anyway; they were all fluffy and soft
Along the route he caught a box turtle trying to cross the street
He brought it home and kept it in a shoebox until his father made him turn it loose
The scent of honeysuckle was wafting through the pines
As lightning bugs competed to see which ones could turn on their back porch lights
before the final rays of amber faded from the west
He had caught a fish last week in the creek but it died in the wash pan aquarium
The spring lizards and crawdads were the real trophies to be had
Spring lizards were excellent bass bait and he was always hankering to go fishing
His dad had a boat he’d built himself. It was a big green square thing
But it was floatable; had a four horsepower Johnson outboard and was watertight
Enough of the right bait and a Saturday trip to the big river might be begged
He stopped to grasp a snapping beetle and held him tight as he popped
Soon bored with the beetle, he caught a huge grasshopper that kindly spit
a full mouth of “tobacky” juice right into his hand. Yuk, he hated that.
I watch him for a long time; see his air of self-importance and command.
This is a world he knows and understands; he even knows its monsters.He has seen the copperhead sunning and the cottonmouth swim right up to the bank
One morning he met a bobcat on his frozen walk to the outhouse
But it is a world with friends unequaled…Choya; the loyal German shepherd
And Pokey…the slow but reliable Yorkshire Terrier….and of course Judy.
Judy was a blue tick hound that would howl like a roasted banshee at the sight of a coon
A coon in the day times is best to avoid because they can carry the rabies
I watch him dry his hands and feet on the stoop before going inside
I see his mother; a slender brunette beauty of a woman, strip his shirt away
“Go peel them shorts off and put on some dry britches boy”, she says.
And I try with all my might to hold on to the smell of the rain on the road.
But it slips and fades with the boy into memory
And the man left thinking is unimportant without command
He does not know this world at all
He sees a man in a blue smock approaching his wheelchair.
“It’s time for your medication, Mr. Franklin.”

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About Me

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Boone, North Carolina, United States
North Carolina poet and musician Fabian G. Franklin invites you to join him on a poetic journey through the soul.