ju ju baby

by Caroline Carver

John Canoe you come with me
I show how danger fly             like upside down bird
like woman jumping from high perch where she no right to be
into your crumpled bed
 
John Canoe she not for you             she marble and stone
when moon shine in churchyard     she darkness and witchwoman
 
and you going Ice-fishing?           I C E – F I S H I N G ! !
I laugh till I fall out of tree             Wait   let me paint picture
 
you drive north      in her car     lazy turn wheel
arm draped over     like you already conquer     both of them
 
she lay her hand     so touching     on your knee
you skid in snowdrift     slip on frozen lake    nobbled and glum
stepping from coo coo warmth to gasping winter breath
 
pay big money for wooden shack      and you     all humble!
my ex-man humble     like butter on hot day
 
as you pick up bucket of bait     all wormy smiles     no teeth
pick up hatchet         thermos with half-warm coffee
two apples         what else we see?     two chairs     one lamp
one small window     one-fishing rod     one person laughing
one hole in ice    speaking with splashes    moans    little lapping sounds
 
fish tonight   she say voice melting like onions and crayfish on beach
as you sit over hole in ice         take turns hold the rod
though only thing you maybe catch is raw-scaled muskellunge
someone throw back     cos it got lamprey
 
Okay John Canoe     we skip next two hours
Tempus no fugit here     it drag the feet like no good water-snake
 
When I     green-minded     look again through window
what do I see?     two lovebirds?     two cute kissy kissy mouths
bunched up with sweetie-pie?         two happy people?
 
No!     you’se holding stick with empty fishing line
drinking beer     clumsy as astronaut dressed up in pile
of Chinese laundry         maybe she plan some serious ironing
 
What she give you?    you ask    yawning   if you eat bait     eat six bait?
 
Eat twelve she say I want see tails hang out like you is greedy pelican
 
I drift away     crouch in pine     tree till that Tempus fugit boy speed out
like lovesick bullfrog         like nine months go already
John Canoe you put your fishing line in big bad place
wait till ju ju baby  come     like astronaut     like Michelin man
with black hole face     webbed fingers
lamprey grin     little tiggly wiggly tadpole tail