augury doggerel

Wednesday, February 12, 2003


With the kid on a snowy trail through close pines, we see the tracks of cloven hooves in the snow. Snout marks. Tusk prints. We quietly recite a nursery rhyme that means, "The boar is wild, the boar is bad, the boar has very sharp tusks. Whoever runs into a boar in the woods quickly jumps into a tree." And as if we've conjured them, now the sound of heavy hooves running on both sides of us, just there in the trees, but invisible.

She whispers that her heart is pounding. She has giant eyes. What should we do? Jump into a tree? No, we charge through the trees because I don't have the sense of a cat and I want to see a boar. The kid is game for anything as long as she doesn't have to let go of my coat, so in we go. But boars are smarter than I am and they've left us standing in very still, very quiet trees. Where are they? Now I feel my own heart.

On the way back, quickly down the trail and sticking close together, we make up new words. "The boar is nice, the boar is good, the boar is in very good humor. Whoever runs into a boar in the woods invites him home to tea." The blast of wind and snow beyond the trees makes us laugh.


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