Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tough Guy

You think I'm afraid of you?
Let me tell you. I may be frailer
Than a crumbling mummy,
But I've done a few things.
I've known water, snow, and sand.

I've stood at the Bay of Fundy
When the hundred-mile tide turned.
I've dropped from a sheer rock face
Into the Middle Saranac Lake.
I've swum the lead and silver waves
Of the Slocan in blustering spring.
I've slid down a muddy jungle bank
To skinny dip in the Temburong
At midnight by lamp and starlight.

I've driven across a raw plateau
In Utah in a white-out where no road
Could be seen, wife and infant
Asleep in the back seat. I've skidded
Across black ice. I've been stuck
In a freak three-foot snowfall
In a cabin in the Appalachians.
I've spent a sub-zero Fahrenheit
Christmas in Missoula in a brown
Inversion, alone and trying to find
A pay phone on the frozen streets.

I've seen dried-out husks of cattle
And lost dogs in the Kalahari,
In the flat sand of the Outback,
In the dust of Death Valley.
I've stood on the Skeleton Coast
Between the bleached ribs
Of fishing boats and the dessicated
Carcass of a brown hyena
And watched the death-dealing,
Life-giving South Atlantic
Fog roll down toward Swakopmund.
You think I'm afraid of you? I am.

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