A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014

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Guy Simser - Canada

Confessions large and small

Spooks do stick; and guilt is a wheelbarrow of weight never dumped. We met daily, on my country school trek through Indian Valley Trail, a darkly shaded deciduous forest, its magic feeding my fantasy of native chipped arrowheads or better still an old leather quiver. Deep in this Disney forest, squatted a decrepit wood shack on a hacked out shabby yard. And there each morning, put out like a food bowl for guard dogs, he appeared in dappled darkness: a short, stocky, pale skinned, bow-legged being with full-moon head and round eyes black as my prized Aggie; being in ill-fitting hand-me-downs and oversized, unlaced lumberman’s spiked boots; being that stomped on any crocus daring to peep for a rare patch of probing sun. And much as I tried to follow dad’s dictum, Just run by on the far side of the trail, it didn’t work because he babbling a mumbo-jumbo, ran in weed-churned circles, throwing stones and invective seldom heard in a polite home. No choice but to hitch up my short pants and run the gauntlet while flinging back trail stones. And each night afterward in my attic bed, I tossed in troubled sleep thinking I’d hurt him, maybe angered him more. I never knew: too terrified to peek back, afraid to see no-name snapping the frayed rope that tethered his leather belt to the homemade dog stake. Afraid to see him closing on me, as he almost did last night…

on the confessional
a stained
glass red

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