February 8, 2012

Bug Juice

Cowboys, Indians, horses, sailors, blue marines
and soldiers from almost every war
packed my toy box tins and cardboard boxes
in the bedroom I shared and living room too.
Courtesy IPFinance blog

On the open Singer was the ranch, high in the mountain
where I’d set up all the horses and block them in,
using rows of spools of Mom’s colorful thread.
I’d post a lookout or two at the top of the round disk spinner
and another lookout atop the spout where the needle jigged
its thread through the hole to the hidden spool.

My favorite cowboys sat nearby in a circle telling tales
around a fire by the chuck wagon and oh, so slowly,
I brought on either the Indians or rustlers
over the drawer handles to sneak up and swipe stallions.

A snapped twig would set the stage for the big fight,
a free-for-all where the rustlers would fall,
my favorite cowboys winged
and afterward, as the last of the bad guys ran off
or were stacked in a pile of dead-for-now,
my guys, the heroes, returned to the campfire
for black coffee, hard tack and tall tales.

When I first went camping
with the Boy Scouts
out in the far reaches
of Wildcat Lake in Blairstown
where mosquitos drowned in our drinks,
I half expected bad guys of some sort
to rush down from the mountain top
and we’d use our kerchiefs
and scout knives to fend them off
and save our bug juice.

- By Anthony Buccino
First published in Poetry Quarterly Winter 2010
Included in AMERICAN BOY: Pushing Sixty
This version varies from earlier editions

Copyright © 2010, 2012 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.

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