308: Let Me Tell You

308: Let Me Tell You

308: Let Me Tell You

Let Me Tell You
by Joseph Stroud

Ellen’s geese attacked me
every time I came to visit
they’d see me walk up
and the assault was on
they’d rush hissing
long necks erect
beaks that could grip
like a pair of pliers
and twist an inch of skin
off the arm you raised
to ward them off
and then with their wings
the edge of their wings
they’d slam you
with the force of a two-by-four
and this happened
every time I came
they never got used to me
and I couldn’t
make friends with them
I don’t know what
it was about me
maybe Ellen
was telling them stories
behind my back
telling them what
a jerk
I could be
(and forty years later
everyone agrees
I still can be)
and you ask me
how’d you come by
that scar on your arm
well let me
tell you

"Let Me Tell You" by Joseph Stroud, from EVERYTHING THAT RISES by Joseph Stroud, copyright © 2019 Copper Canyon Press. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.