One Gulp of The West River by Lee Evans

Lee Evans | Dec 24th, 2019 | a poem a day challenge | No Comments


My father and his brothers built a blind
On stilts out in the river, and each year
Recovered it with pine boughs from the woods
So as to trick the ducks and geese while they,
The hunters, crouched within, their rowboat moored
Thereto and covered also with the greens.
One season they recruited me to help
With hauling the new camouflage to pile
Upon the back of an old flatbed truck
Owned by their cousin and so crushed with age
My father had to lie back in the cab
And push the rusted ceiling back in place
With both his feet, to my intense delight.
Then later when the boat was loaded with
The boughs and the supplies, and we set out,
The outboard motor sputtered, choked and died,
And Uncle Bobby yanked the cord and cursed,
Forgetting I was there with Sunday school
Fresh in my mind. “Too bad,” drawled Charles, “we can’t
Harness the power of your mouth, we’d be done now.”
We sat and ate our lunch in the duck blind:
Sandwiches of Thanksgiving turkey breast
Oozing with mayonnaise; coffee for them,
Kept steaming in the thermos; cocoa for me.
They waited to glimpse wings across the sky,
And all was still, as though we were transformed
To evergreen; the barrels of their guns
Were branches stretching out against the clouds
In that November scene; and I forgot
Why we were there. The slowly rising tide
Licked up the wooden stilts; the wounded boughs
Oozed piney sap that glistened in the sun,

Poet Bio

Lee Evans lives in Bath, Maine and works at the local YMCA. Despite his childhood upbringing, he never turned out to be a duck hunter.

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