portion of the artwork for Tim Tomlinson's poem

Bow and Arrow
Tim Tomlinson

3 pm, summer, 1965
boys flip baseball cards against a garage door
Mickey Mantle has gone down in value, Harmon Killebrew ascending
the cries of kids jumping from redwood platforms into the pool in the Hannans’ backyard
the three Mrs’s on lawn chairs drinking Rheingold from chug-a-lug bottles
               in the shade of an oak in the Johnsons’ front yard, wearing leotard shorts
               that squish their thigh flesh into donuts over their knees
Johnny Gino’s unmuffled Mercury roars down the street, “Down in the Boondocks”
               on the radio, the three Mrs’s shouting into its exhaust

the bells of the Good Humor truck jingle from the next block
and the kids from the pool stinking of chlorine and piss appear with towels
               around their waists, their hair dripping, loose change in their hands
in the kitchen window, my mother twirling her hair around a finger chatting on the phone
               with Mrs Quinlan across the street in her kitchen window twirling hers
a Chesterfield curling smoke from an ashtray on the windowsill my mother leans on
the drivel from her talk radio annoying me on the patio where I read

in two years I’ll be huffing lacquer thinner from a brown paper bag on the bluff
               overlooking Long Island Sound
I’ll be setting fires in the woods behind the Johnsons’ house and I’ll be stoned
               every day before homeroom
by winter 1968 the US will have 500,000 troops in Vietnam and I will have memorized
               every line on the “White” album
I will drop acid on the weekends between 1969 and 1971 and I’ll drop out
               of school drunk on Schaefer on the morning of my 16th birthday
but now I am ten years old and drug free and clueless about how to relieve a boredom
               that’s heavier than a hot day in a Sunday suit
except to read about Geronimo and dream about the day I’ll pick up the tomahawk,
               the bow and arrow


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 29 | Summer 2010