I’ve long thought that the Catskills needed a Sasquatch to add some hairy mystery to our mountains. Apparently, I’m not the only one. The June issue of Hudson Valley Magazine reports on the Bigfoot enthusiasts in our region. Here’s my contribution to the lore, a poem from My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse.
By Will Nixon
On the bench in white stretch pants I told
the quarterback I quit, but didn’t admit
I couldn’t stand up because my penis had snapped.
Both halves snug in my nylon crotch, bigger,
for sure, solid as dynamite, but what if
one should slip down my leg during a play?
“Finish the scenario,” said my therapist.
“You’re the writer. What would Hollywood do?”
Awake, I had a tough time completing dreams,
but after some silence I suggested reaching down
and throwing out my cold broken pipe.
“Marvelous,” he said. “For next week
make yourself a new penis.”
Something with feathers, I decided, something
with teeth. Not the penises of art history,
the wooden lap rockets on primitive carvings
or the floral codpieces on patriotic statues,
my organ would be furtive and wild,
a bark-eater, a nocturnal predator,
a burrower and a hibernator,
an omnivore grazing twenty hours a day,
eating its own weight in blackberries.
In time villagers would share theories—
Sasquatch, Wendigo—then a cryptic photo
of a golden eye on an abandoned road.
They’d argue over footprints, collect scat
not found in any field guide. They’d fear
what could come down from above the cliffs,
where the hunter fell, found three days later
with a ham sandwich still wrapped in his pocket.
I wasn’t afraid of that mountain. All morning
I climbed animal trails past beech trees clawed
by bears, hemlocks shading owls and porcupines.
At the cliffs I filled my cup with water percolating
from moss, then scrambled up loose gully rocks.
Behind me, the valley haze twitched with dragon flies
and airborne seeds. A hawk screamed down the ridge.
I could sense it now: my penis smelled me approaching.
In the clearing where hobblebushes blossomed
with white saucers serving the fragrance of earth,
we would join in the dance that ignited the sun.
* * * *
The Mother Grouse Blog is produced by Will Nixon, author of My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse and Love in the City of Grudges available on-line.