Image by Louise Dickinson-Brown
By Lewis Turco
After the wind-tempest, when
branches lie in crambles upon the clearings
and neighbors at far distances phone
down the foothills under the mountains
to ask if all is well still,
the answer is "Yes" and, sometimes, "But have you
seen anything of a shambling man
dressed in furs running before the birds'
chirming just before the sun
was wiped out of the slate sky and the rain erased
the trees, made them slop and wiggle like
pines in a fingerpainting?" And, "No,"
is the answer, "not this time,
but now you mention it, last time we thought we
saw a bear at the edge of the woods,
and when we went to look there were prints
"in the mud — footprints the shape
of a big man's, a huge man's bare feet. They put us
in mind of the manse of the films,
the girl in the chiffon gown walking
"down the hall to stop under
a portrait whose eyes move. And then, you know, it
slides aside, and a hairy arm comes
reaching out toward the maiden, and
"we scream, don't we, for the girl
in the white gown, but you know, what must it be
like to be the thing the arm belongs
to? What wouldn't we want, and wouldn't
"we hide in the walls and woods?
And if a storm blew up, wouldn't we wander some,
down from the timberline to where the
houses started, to look in windows
"at firelight and carpets,
to think about chiffon and wish the folk would
understand somehow, somewhen, that there's
a bit of hairy arm in everyone?"
From an unpublished manuscript, A Book of Beasts, poems by Lewis Turco, illustrations by Louise Dickinson-Brown; the poems may be found in Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, Scottsdale, AZ: www.StarCloudPress.com, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932842-19-7, cloth; ISBN 978-1-932842-20-3, paper. Also available in a Kindle edition.