Thursday, October 9, 2014

Two Childhood Memories, Sonnets #205 and #206

Iguana (Alice Guerin), Sonnet #206

Clark Air Force Base, Philippine Islands, 1960

Iguanas in the mango tree behind our house
Knocked down rotted fruit (smell of sweet dead mouse),
The sickened pulp caught in a blackened baseball glove.
The hope was to catch one still firm and ripe enough,
To save it from rupturing, to bite through its tough
Skin and suck warm pulp, while the lizards above
Threw at us more and more than we could hope to catch.
The Philippine iguana caught would bite and scratch,
Its venom put you in the emergency room.
We were taught never to climb the trees or crawl
Beneath the house where a cobra's hood might bloom.
It was a kind of Paradise, after the Fall.
In a typhoon, Mt. Pinatubo erupted
And buried our home, leaving it uncorrupted.

117 Sr. Officers Row (Harry Hargraves), Sonnet #205

Warren Air Force Base, 1958

The antelope never came near
The house we lived in for six years.
At five, of many things to fear
Was a neighbor my age, Wendy.
Little witch, she often bit me,
Drawing blood, until her mother
Bit her shoulder even harder.
Gorillas lived beneath the house.
I tumbled down the dark backstairs.
A brother flushed down our white mouse.
The garage stank of butchered bears.
I wasn't taught, so didn't learn:
I struck two matches, watched them burn
My fingers, tossed them on a chair,
Soon thrown out in the winter air.

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