Living Without It
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- Let me know if you need something. If I don’t have it, I’ll teach you how to live without it.
- Kansas lore
When my father sent me to fetch a box-end wrench, and
I couldn’t find it, he rolled from beneath the Model-T,
hissing goddammits between his teeth,
and, after scattering tools from one end of the yard to the other,
settled on a pair of pliers that, as he said later,
did the trick, though the knuckles
on his right hand were as red, as he put it, as a baboon’s ass.
At that time in my life I had never seen a baboon,
much less its behind, but I had seen
my buddy Tub Schmidt naked in the shower at the local pool
scratching his jumbo rump until it turned
first a delicate pink, then a fire-truck
red, the rest of his flab the color of the underside of the channel
I caught out of old man Simpson’s pond,
nightcrawlers gone but
plenty of doughballs left, doughballs for the carp, some of them
big enough, so my companion Larry said,
to swallow old Jonah, which I