A large buck struts through the trees on the banks of Lagoon Drive.

Sparks spit from the business end of a flat iron shovel as it scrapes the pavement, spatulas the carcass of a raccoon – flat through the torso but preserved at the front and rear haunch, portrait ready, bar the blood and brain leaking from one nostril.

The scraper, clad in Carhartt body suit, is mute in the burgeoning daylight, lips pasted together with tacky saliva, thick salted slugs from Thursday night on the beer.

In the mindless cold he peels pelt and fur, gummed to the pavement with viscous innards. He scurries from his truck to his charge, tiptoeing the asphalt like the squirrels and rabbits and the cracked tortoise.

He never kills the engine, but flapjacks the meat into the bed of his truck, jumps in the warm cab and hustles to the next location. He rides a long, slicing tongue cut through dense, marshy forest: Lagoon Drive. And even now, when they are rumored to be dormant, he is constantly wary of the beasts lurking in the trees.

He believes that the corpses, these smashed skunks and bloated opossum, are no accident at all. These are no portraits of accidental death, rather traps, set by the city to lure the beasts from hiding. The fat cats are convinced they’d be able to capture the monsters, once lured into daylight, and purge them from the city – a misanthropic foible that rings of King Kong.

The monsters, in the eyes of the carcass shoveler, are better left in the dark woods. They aren’t monsters, truly, just the residual effects of governmental experimentation. As the shoveler explained in his final letter, the interbreeding of those cursed by being born on the site of an ancient nuclear explosion, and the depraved minds willing to mate with such abominations, that makes for monstrosities one can barely imagine.

And when those creatures breed with similar creatures, over hundreds of years they’ve gone plain crazy and stay to the forests, eating whatever flesh they can find. I’m telling you, they’re out there, I seen em. They got wild ape hair and crooked teeth and claws and oily discharge spraying like sea foam from flopping joules, like a rabid dog with red eyes and horns and swollen boils. Luckily, their multiple sex appendages/orifices make for labored jigsaw copulation, keeping their numbers in line. And those bodies I scrape off the Drive, they could just as well be ours, if those beasts ever ventured out in our direction.

He attempts to warn the rest of the barstools on a typical whiskey Friday. They listen for a bit, then laugh as bar banter returns. Soon they are hooting and hollering and slapping each other on the back and slamming wet glasses on the bar. He stares at the fluorescent woman on the wall, and renegotiates his drunk.

The pot on the stove boils over, he tends to it.

Newspapers clipped and collaged on the wall.

He sits to eat tears chunk of boiled rabbit and chews chases tough flesh with beer.

Cast in bug zapper blue he stares across iron rails through the inky abyss to an oil lamp on a street pole that spills flickering amber on two perching buzzards.

Before they can sink their talons into his fleshy pelt he escapes inside his home with a pull creak and moan, smack of the screen door.

From a crumb on a crumpled map, bulls eyed on the horizon, there comes a crack of thunder.

The thunder echoes, sends shock waves through the consciousness of a man and a country town.

A large buck, champion rack, framed in the second story window sill, cast in blue light refracting off shards of broken glass, stares down his pointed snout and mews a dirge from his rocking chair, when clearly comes crashing, as we all may have expected, a tidal wave of crimson death, flooding the streets and crumbling what little sense of structure this poor town ever had.

And splattered on the wall, gray consciousness and garnet gems, a Jackson Pollack painting of all the fear and loneliness spooled tight inside a day laborer, who tried to save a city, scraping road kill monster traps from the early morning pavement.

His stained letter reads, among three full pages of complaint: Those critters aint the monster traps. I am.

He is mistaken, of course – we snuffed out the mutants years ago.

"Road Kill"
Copyright: © 2010 Jim Davis

Jim Davis is a painter by trade,but poetry has developed into one of his greatest passions. His first collection of verse and prose, Groundhog Days, goes to print in June with Mi-te Press.
He has a B.A. in Studio Art from Knox College and is currently studying poetry through Yale University. In addition to the arts, he is also an international professional football player. His unique combination of interests continues to offer him opportunities worldwide: teaching art lessons in Limerick, Ireland; sketching the Dolomite Mountain landscape on the Austrian/Italian border; swimming in the Mediterranean Sea after football practice in Valencia, Spain.

No comments:

Post a Comment