Cambridge Book Review

[Issue #5, Winter 2000-2001]

Long Shot Odyssey

Walter Bruno

Canto VI

He made it as a youth in dreams:
nineteen, the wearer of
bad blue jeans
getting a tan
through the gaps in the girls hanging round;

slumped indifferent
in a polished hide
stolen from Aix's more fashionable side;

Bella must have seen him;
seen him, to have worn this dress today,
like her original skin;

genuine foreskin, he japed,
allowing he'd never seen
one, not even mine;

scootered bum, jimmydeaned cub,
rub my nose in the cobbled air
rev the coils till your ducktail flies
get me to class on time --

"Hang on," he said,
"I'm not going soft
just because you fall off";
we trashed a vineyard,
jumped a cypress,
dissected a cat,
and passed a goatherd delivering kids --
"I could be their pa," he brayed;

the conniving rain
drove us back in a loop
past a shop he'd lifted
and into his street:
rue Sallier, dark-stepped course,
artery of a swifter blood
slicked with May-sweated boys;

numb in wetness we stood with bowed heads;
we had an hour to go, he said,
without clothes.

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