The creek backbones the story of that spring,
the spring I made my new brother out of thistle,
twigs and corn-husk twine. My Mud Man crafted
from field grass and a fair bit of grease. If only I
could expand the story of what followed, the Terror
of the Back Eighty Acres who lived on deer scraps
left by timber wolves or black bears and potatoes
saved from my dinner plate. He grew tame
and hunted the dreams of farm kids—every tree scratch
on the window were his nails, every pregnant farm girl
was knocked up with the devil’s seed and spiderbabies.
My mother asked me, Where did you get that stick boy?
and, though we were playing, I’ll make up another place
at the table.This was my mother who said I’m sorry
with casseroles. When they found my real brother
beneath the creek squared by flatrocks and crayfish,
he looked like he was sleeping so they told me he
was sleeping. Mother cooked our kitchen full of casserole.
If I could write another chapter for my brother,
for my Mud Man. If I could keep the story going,
but of course, the townspeople grew restless, grabbed
pitchforks and torches. Of course, it all ended in fire.
Casey Thayer received an MFA at Northern Michigan University and has poems forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Devil’s Lake, The Normal School, and elsewhere. He is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Rock County.
Homepage photograph via Flickr by Dan Zen