Saturday, January 28, 2017

Jack Scott writes

Godfather Frog 
[Part III]

I turned, but couldn’t walk away
I couldn’t leave him as he was
in slow excruciation.
I had to get the spear out.
I held him down again
and plunged the knife into him
back and forth and up and down,
stabbing, slicing round the tines,
a massacre in miniature,
butchery without yet slaughter.
I cut and cut and cut.
The monarch bled more freely,
but no longer flailed about,
was still for now,
all but his eyes which followed me
like magic pictures on a wall.
His pulse beat on beneath my hand.

I have tried to kill before
but never got the knack.
Relieving prey from misery
just seemed to make it worse:
they have always died
of more pain than they could stand.
I smoked half a pack of cigarettes,
started drinking beer,
gathered up my bloodied pages
in whatever order.
His eyes were still wide open,
still intent on me;
they blinked
when they decided to.
His inner light seemed dimmer now,
beclouded and more alien,
as if fueled by willfulness,
but his eyes remained
no less determined.

The sun and clouds had worn me down,
the mushrooms and the wet and chill,
the oscillating sweating heats,
a dim and angry sick right eye,
and fears, more than a few,
but most of all
my crime was wearing me.
In fairness and comparison
my complaint was meritless.

To palliate my act,
he would be my supper;
the royal line must not die out.
I would honor him
by inviting him to dinner,
following dismemberment.

I skinned the legs,
amputated at the hips
then divided at the knees.
I did the same to forearms;
large enough to eat.

I opened him,
a thrumming factory.
The heart beat on,
the stomach pulsed, a pantry.
I took three large stones from it,
small stones, I took four
minnows and  five crayfish
fresh enough to fish with,
a feathered bird, a mouse,
two smaller frogs . . .
The monarch was a glutton,
he’d eaten half the sea.

With some of this as bait
I’d eat the fish they caught,
a pale attempt at penitence
to Nature and to him:
now half a leather melon
left over from the leather rest of him.

Despite this gory surgery
he still refused his death.
Each time I touched the table
his eyes would blink and nearly pop
as if exposing me
in some arcane photography;
he sensed my feet upon the ground.

I would have called upon my neighbors
to help me find my sanity,
but they would think me crazy.
I couldn’t fish,
or even think of it;
the water frightened me.
Nor animate my moth -
such arrogance to try
to resurrect a creature
whose life I’d hoped
would spring from me,
who now had stolen future
from the real thing:
a creature with a living past.  
I’d sacrificed a legend
to mediocrity.

My neighbor came to call on me
at leading edge of dreaded night.
She came smiling, smoking
in good natured curiosity.
Shame on you I thought
but didn’t voice hypocrisy.
All things told, it’s shame on me.
“Are you really going to eat it?”
She saw my preparation
soaking in a pan.
“I hear the French eat them,” she said.
“My husband didn’t really want to see.”
Then she found the head
just as the head found her.
She screamed
and ran smoking up the beach.

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