Friday, October 31, 2008

Bye-bye Sam Peabody

Bye-bye Sam Peabody
(How Luisa visits Ethel, Gerald and Geraldine in the Wee Wee Hours)

Sorry to barge in at 3 AM. I know you don't think I should camp
alone, but I crave camping and with Jake gone, I have no one.
So, alone at South Meadow, I pitch my tent and this dude
ambles up and says, "Are you camping alone"
and I stupidly say "yes" and he says, "You shouldn't.
It's not safe. You should move your tent over to my campsite
and I'll protect you. The woods are full of violence
and dangerous men." He looks okay, smallish, about my age,
sandy greying hair, but restless and jittery, kind of nervous.
As he yammers on about my sharing his campsite, snakes
crawl over him, hundreds of them. His face sprouts scales
and more snakes writhe around his feet. You know I like snakes,
but not these. Coals glow inside black eye-pits. Slime oozes
from their skin. Only of course, they're not there, and no,
I'm not crazy. He looks pleasant and friendly but smells
of sulphur and ozone—really! (Only not really). He makes me feel
defenseless, almost naked. Yeah, frightened. My tiny tent
looks increasingly vulnerable. As he rattles on, I look longingly
at the blueberries with their autumn-red leaves, the yellow and orange
aspen and deer tracks marking the sand. A white-throated sparrow
calls in the meadow: Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody Peabody.

Sam flee flee flee flee ((if reading aloud, also whistle this))

Then a loon laughs, a wild insane tremolo. Like a witch. Usually,
when loons sing, awe fills me, not fear. Already the sun hangs low
and red over the waving marsh grass, reflecting in the twisting waterway
like a curved red pathway that could lead to happiness or . . .
or terror. The air tingles with cold and smells of damp leaves,
frost and a hint of late berries. It's getting dark. I want
to cook dinner, sleep in my tent, and wake in the woods,
to a weekend of mountain glory. But this guy hovers
too close. "So are you coming over to my site?" he asks, yet again.
"Yeah, okay," I say, "let me get my tent down." He offers to help
and I tell him to go start a fire for dinner and I'll be right over.
As soon as he's out of sight, I tear down my tent, fastest decamping
in the history of the world, shove it in my car, leap in and race
up the dirt road. Sand, gravel and stones fly out as I drive
like a meteor, faster than I've ever driven. I cry.
I toss glances behind me to see if he's chasing me in his truck.
I think perhaps I will camp somewhere else, but my heart thumps
so loudly in my ears that I hurtle faster and faster, away from him
and down the long winding roads through the darkness to you
and your reassuring hugs. Ahhh, your hugs soothe and warm me.

Mary Stebbins Taitt___________________________________
------this line and everything below this line is not part of this poem------
081030-1415-3c; 081029-2313-2e; 081027/8-0013-1st; note to self: if
this is written as a story, go back to earlier drafts for details not
included in this draft.

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