He was lodged in the raft of flotsam, in a quiet cove
in the riverbank, hanging upside-down like a marionette
entangled in a birds nest of twisted driftwood,
worn smooth by the cold, torrid current of the river.
Maybe he was hanging from his bony ankles
and yellow work boots trying to recover a lost coin
or a caramel he dropped into the water below, she thought.
Nothing down there except catfish and skeeter larvee, mister,
she told him, her hair jostled by an errant gust.
But there was no answer, only the wet noise of muddy water
lapping the gnarled, bony driftwood below.
And me, she thought he said, after a long pause.
Whatcha doing? she asked, her voice a breezy insistence.
How long you been here, how long you gonna stay?
You know the river's rising so fast you might get drowned?
Last week they had a big old dead possum right where you're at,
and it blowed up the size of a TV set, and it stank something awful.
Hey, you like liverwurst?
The soles of Mr. Roebuck's work boots stared blankly
at Margaret, never betraying his secret of a freighter,
a lost card game and a push into the dark current.
Mr. Roebuck just wanted a little solitude
where there were no questions or inquisitive little girls and
no possums the size of television sets.
And he was thankful the river rose so swiftly.
Date of Birth:
Charlotte, North Carolina
SalonDAArte, Morella Literary Arts Magazine, Morpo Review, etc.
Garland Keever Award for Humorous Fiction (University of North Carolina)
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