mill image

The fabric mill is quiet Sunday.
The cold front’s wind pushes the lone stack’s smoke southeast.
The river races black over rock,
Yellow, brown, red leaves in the current.

Morning breakfast time:
Moose hunters swallow pancakes, eggs,
Precious permits deep in green black brown camouflage pants pockets.

A woman – and the women, all with weight to hips and thighs –
Tells a big man:
“I’ve got to get a concealed weapon permit.
My husband’s parole officer told me to,
Told me my husband’s dangerous,
And I knew that already.”

“I’ll help you with the shooting,” the big man says.

Pickups, mud-covered, are on narrow streets,
Chunky 4-wheelers on beds ….
Pancakes, eggs.

Four generations – one family – enter.
They take seats around a rectangular table,
Grandmother at one end,
Three-year old grandson the other ….

Now, the grandson’s start call,
A pre-blood initiation:
His camouflage-wearing father,
4-wheeler, moose, deer, bear hunter, jet-skier and fast boater,
Puts a camouflage cap on the boy’s close-cut hair,

And then pulls his chubby arms through a camouflage jacket,
Before the boy’s teen sisters adjust the cap and jacket,
And then lift him to pull camouflage pants over his stubby legs.
Smiles, pancakes, eggs.

The sun thins river-bottom fog.
The mill’s smoke stays high and fast.
The mill’s boiler man takes an outdoor break.
“Got to stay close if there’s trouble, even if it’s Sunday,
He, former tannery worker, explains.

Inside the restaurant:
More eating before woods, bogs, lakes, pond, streams, rifles, blood ….

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, mid October 2012

Editor: I believe this is a poem from the “other border.” Hunters do their thing everywhere. Of course in Texas, the big game for the most part has been wiped from Mother Nature’s slate for some time now.

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Gene Novogrodsky

Eugene "Gene" Novogrodsky, a Brownsville resident for nearly three decades, writes North American border slices, from eastern Canada to central Mexico, and in between. He is one of the founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum in San Benito. He sometimes participates with the informal Resaca Writers Group in Brownsville. He prefers, however, to read to two or three attentive listeners - when asked!

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