The Boy and the Long-Eared Jack


“If I have any taste it is

only because I have interested myself

in what was slain in the sun…”*


What was the connection

between the boy and the dead

long-eared jack?

He was more of a man than a boy,

obviously retarded,

(Downs, I think).

What secrets did they share,

the jack and the boy?


The jack and the boy, disgusted

by our race—

standing on the roadside,

by the riverbed,

(the riverbed was dry)

in his funny red cap

red like the jack,

his jacket tied

about his waist…

…waving us by,

us by in our cars,


the jack and the boy.


The jack and the boy,

excluded from the race.

Excluded from the race—

what histories do they share?



The jack and the boy,

running,        running,         running,

between us—


darting across the road,

(safety on the other side),

darting to yellow lines

where the long-eared jack lay—


*Charles Olsen, “The King Fishers” 4, III

2014 copyright by Katie Pifer



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