Invitation to the Cult of Musth

By | 24 July 2007

My fingers hold the old pocketknife. 'Many uses,'
master said, and a picture on the side, carved
into ivory: a bull elephant grunts, solitary.
'Cut something else away,' he said, grinning.
My hand worked the wood block, and the pen
worked the page until I forgot the elephant,
his feet, trunk, tusk, and the flies he swats
with his tail. the bird on his back, though, sprang alive
in my hand as the knife trembled. 'Hold it tight,
Damn it,' he said. I couldn't, and the wooden bird
slipped away, a flutter of feathers and wind.
I close the knife with a click and drop
it into the pocket of my worn denim jacket.
The bird rests hidden by the tall plains' grass;
The pen writes another word, and the bull enters
musth, sees master wave a shotgun, and fells a tree.
We got drunk to give us the courage–'goddamn it,
point the shotgun,' he said; I pointed. I pointed.

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