Tuesday March 11, 2014; 09:17 pm EDT
My father was a patient man
who had no enemies.
But I recall a summer when
a monster was set free.
His prize-winning tomato plants,
he tended day and night,
invited slugs, such slimy beasts,
who knew they’d taste just right.
And in the morning Dad would rise
to find his plants in shreds
he’d curse and stamp his feet with rage
and swear upon their heads.
He started drowning them in salt
to watch their bodies wither.
he’d track them by their rainbow trails
and catch them in mid-slither.
And when they came back in full force
he thought of a new plan,
an old wives tales said slugs liked beer
poured in an empty can.
A trap was set in tuna cans,
of beer and fishy chunks,
but while the slugs hadn’t been tricked
the cat had gotten drunk.
The whole next month at night I heard
the whack of two-by-fours,
a massacre of sluggy bugs
outside my own front door.
At last my dad threw up his hands,
“Alright, you slugs, you’ve won!”
But garden season over with
the slug’s dining was done.
And in the end old dad was back.
he turned to us and said,
“If I’m a slug in my next life,
feel free to whack me dead.”
Ariel Martinez Brumbaugh, a former Bay Weekly junior reporter, is a student in Johns Hopkins’ master’s program in poetry, writes here in the iambic tetrameter and ABAB CDCD rhyme scheme of hymnal verse.
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