IN THE WOODS
We sharpened sticks to trap tigers
and one time caught a girl instead,
blond and spinning, lost
in the chorus of a pop song.
From our hiding places
in the trees, we heard a wail, then
the splitting of skin-it has a sound:
notebook paper torn from a binder,
an old man shaving his beard.
We worked in secret and were never
charged, though in church
or at the mirror I sometimes wondered
if it had been a lung, instead,
a throat, an artery. If I could find her
I'd tell her we meant no harm,
were after tigers only, the imaginary ones
that approached Pierce County
on clouds, in angry silence.
We only wanted to save the world-
we needed to save the world
that many summers before
had grown beyond our indiscretions.
There was no way to be a hero
when Vietnam was on TV, no way
to make our parents smile when
our brothers were already dead.
Carl Boon's debut collection of poems, Places & Names, will be published this year by The Nasiona Press. His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Posit and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.
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