Monday, June 18, 2012

Drawing inferences

The Lumberjack

His toque screamed French Canadian, Jacques
I imagined; in profile a prominent nose broken perhaps
in a brawl over a woman named Suzette or
a close woods brush with a falling widow
maker, bloody Niagara soaking his flannel shirt,
dripping from the delta of coarse lines describing
an unkempt beard that smelled of cigarettes
and bug dope, trimmed, if he trimmed at all, with a
sliver of band saw blade stuck fast in a wad of tree gum,
whiskers after all affording a degree of protection
from plagues of black flies, already heavy and black
at thirteen, peppery checkered flag for school,
entrée to the big woods, one twinkling eye
nested in flesh crinkled by smoke and ribald
bunkhouse jokes, widening in mock surprise
at a sour note on the ancient squeezebox
broken out and dusted off on Saturday nights,
the one I didn’t draw carefully in a slow
steady hand, embellishment of any kind
sure to queer my chances with the juror
poised to swing a bubbly bottle of champagne
against the looming prow of my boat
load of God-given talent, a launch I await
patiently in these north woods, a brief
break in this rhythmic waltz, smoking
in the shade of all these doomed trees.   

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