Bad Bull Shortcut

by Guinotte Wise

Catty corner through a pasture
made the bayou a quicker walk
but when the bull was there the
boy didn't take the dare, squared

the fence's rusty barbed wire.
Pasture's edge was in a swamp
and an army of cypress trees 
put their roots and knees where

alligators sometimes flashed in
shallows of the black waters
and garfish swam, merganzers
flew and fallen trees made okay

bridges though slick with moss
and droppings. Back to the bull.
He grazed, his sight curtailed by
primitive goggles allowing only

slits of light and now and then
a bit of boy's jeans and striped
t-shirt, enough to paw the earth
and try to lumber over slowly

and the boy was looking for
the figures made of wood and
paint and bike reflectors, with
biblical phrases painted on the

barkless, naked faded trunks
in misspelled words like Hore
and Kign and Revelatun Fore
and backwards Ns and Ss that

were more apocalyptic than 
the message, more deliciously 
absorbed and more a source
of wonder to the big eyed boy.

______

Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. Five more books since. A 5-time Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including
Atticus, The MacGuffin, Southern Humanities Review,  Rattle and The American Journal of Poetry. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work is at http://www.wisesculpture.com.