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Just-So Story

              I was at home under the shade of the gumbo-limbo tree 
Reading the story of what happened to the little elephant with unbridled 
              Curiosity.  Still, I ask too many questions, even now.
              I was imagining the common turtle on his Lucite island 
In the hollow of the claw-foot tub in our attic dying off with
              Little drama all that summer long, the water getting imperceptibly 
              More shallow every day, while I was riding brindled horses
Up the mountains in the West.  I wouldn’t know the day he stopped.
              It didn’t hurt, they told me; he just went to sleep in sun.
              I stopped loving a boy one day, which day, exactly,
I wouldn’t know, much the same as the never-knowing 
              When or how the trout I caught regrew the wound 
              His inner cheek took on (I was groomed to throw him back) 
After the whisking of the treble hook went in, 
              And was then yanked out.  Or what hour it could have been
When once my father was at peace, 
              Alive, wading with me, knee-high into Slippery Rock, 
And I stood there with him in the middle of the creek 
                                          Curious in wild sun and wondering.