His Wife Called Him Moose

His Wife Called Him Moose

—- For Lawrence Topp

The Clam River slides through a wide valley, rubs
against low sandy banks on one side, great expanses
of cattails on the other. A hill rises up from the river,
trees cleared away, a trail moving past geriatric oaks
and burnt tree stumps where there were once bonfires.
The house sits on the hill, u-shaped and pointing away
from the river toward sixty acres of slow-dying wheat.
The old man sits at a desk in his office, stares as the sun
makes its final drop between twin radio towers, coaxial
cable running back to the house and a stack of ham radios.
He flips a switch, amplifiers hum and vacuum tubes glow,
constellations of connection. He grips a chrome microphone
while clearing his throat, announces his presence, waits
on replies from men named Scotty, Hobo and The Dane.
As he exhales back into his chair, static washes over him,
the wheat field turns to gray, the house settles in on its stones,
the hill slides back into the valley and the river washes itself
through cattails, the sound like the final sigh of a dying wife.

Paul Scot August

Originally published in Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal – Issue #1 – Spring 2011


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