October 4, 2013

David Bottoms


We unrolled our bags around the gasping fire.
My first camping trip, and the woods
were anything but silent. I tried to pretend I was brave.
Though two dads still clowned in the boat, flailing the water
with jitterbugs and spoons,
we shed our shoes and zipped ourselves in.

When the Scout masters doused the fire,
the stars, as promised, went electric above the lake.

Suddenly the sky seemed
one great puzzle. If I could only connect
those dots all the great questions
might be answered. The voices in the trees were ominous,
but if I could only connect those dots … No.

Still, something might be revealed,
and I listened into the night to those hissing woods,
to the muffled chatter on the lake,
and to those Scout masters
in the cabin
swearing over whiskey and cards.

from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
Tribute to Southern Poets

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