Jo Guldi CC
It appeared to everyone in town
Garnet lived solely on cheap lager.
Only the few who glimpsed
inside the drafty, two-room dwelling
he kept with an ancient, toothless mother,
knew protein came from snared rabbits
transformed into soup.
In this way, country alcoholics
have it better than counterparts
forever sauced in the city--
rodents are much more desirable there,
especially if boiled
on a wood stove with carrots, celery--
a dash of salt and pepper.
Against the odds, Garnet remained
upright on two legs, and two wheels,
performed odd jobs for liquor store liquidity;
cycled converted railway beds,
chainsaw on parcel carrier
with case of Schooner in front basket.
Imagine a scarecrow
whose stuffing is removed
by fearless crows for their nest;
flannel shirt, olive drab pants hang
loose on a T frame,
one hand manages the handlebars,
one tips back refreshments.
A sweetness pervaded
Garnet’s yeasty persona.
True—others took pity,
hired the villager most famous
for his incredible capacity,
paid him to mow a lawn, or limb a tree.
Even in this febrile state,
he remained committed to an ailing mother,
elderly home-bound friends like my grandparents,
with whom he gossiped and played cribbage.
When you passed him on your bike
he always smiled in recognition,
through sawdust-sprinkled beard,
transcending his bleary-eyed appearance.
Each Halloween, Dad drove us
to a real haunted house,
revealed his costumed kids
to sunken ghouls grinning
with glistening gums by the fire.
Was this ritual to honour their past
work relationship when they carpooled,
before Garnet’s ambition to drink
outweighed desire to work?
An unspoken thank-you
for entertaining his elderly parents?
They beckoned us forward
with shaking hands, one at a time.
Stuffed pillowcases equally
with entire contents of a box
snack-size potato chips,
knowing we would be the only spooks
to dare haunt their door that night.
I wondered how two adults can live
together in such cramped confines.
Answer: Garnie spent little time there
other than to cook, pass out,
and make sure
his mother still drew breath.
Jordan Trethewey is a writer and editor living in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He is also a husband, father (to two kids, a black cat, and a Sheltie) and beer-league softball player. Some of his poetry, fiction and non-fiction inhabits on-line publications such as Visual Verse, Fishbowl Press, Red Fez, The Blue Nib, Terror House Magazine, Califragile, Jerry Jazz Musician and Spillwords. Jordan is an editor at redfez.net, and openartsforum.com. His latest book, Spirits for Sale, is available on Amazon. His poetry has also been translated in Vietnamese and Farsi. To see more of his work go to: https://jordantretheweywriter.wordpress.com.
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