took tow-haired nephew for a walk down the railroad tracks in search of pollywogs. we found a few in the scummy puddles at the edge of the granite ballast. he tried to capture them until i ruled against this line of play. upon seeing a shaggy-coated mare he said “horses shouldn’t look like that. horses should have sleek coats.” all of the other horses in the pasture were in compliance. poor shaggy mare.
later he picked up an oak gall and drop-kicked it. he chased it down and stomped on it and said “take that, daniel!” “who is daniel?” “he’s an annoying boy.” “why’s that?” “he tattles.” “on you?” “yep.” “being naughty?” “no! he lies and then i get in trouble. sometimes at school i take a ball into the yard and write his name on it and then kick it all over the place.” “you must really dislike him.” “no, he’s my friend. he’s really funny. but he’s just very irritating. i take my frustration out on the ball, see?” “okay.” daniel oak apple. daniel pine branch. daniel beer can. daniel squirrel carcass. i said “you know, daniel isn’t here to benefit?” “yeah, it’s just what i do.” “general sign of discontent?” “sure.”
as we crossed the tracks i noticed a man standing on the sidewalk. his car was being hoisted onto the back of a tow truck. he was staring at me. intently. then he said my name in an exasperated tone. i jumped. how easily i am duped by a pair of sunglasses and a hat. an old friend. didn’t even recognize him. squeezes exchanged. i left him still waiting for a tow.
on the far side of town red maids and buttercups. where the treads of bulldozers have passed meadowfoam has all but vanished. replaced with filaree and star thistle and everything horrible that hitchhikes on machinery of that ilk. the asters along the creek are vanishing too. succumbed to the same fate. ugly.
wellidy. take that, daniel!