Scoundrel Time

Three Poems By Dawn Potter

Walking into Town

this road is empty for most of the day but
when the log trucks whip over the ridge
jake-breaking belching diesel
then watch out deer

the soot-stained sky glowers
snow is on the way snow
is always on the way
& the tar is always buckled with potholes &

frostheaves & in the ditch today
old mrs richards is hunting for budweiser cans
for mountain dew bottles to trade
down at the store for baloney to feed

her grandson he’s three & he’s smart
she tells me he’s three
& his teeth are rotting out of his head




we were drawing conclusions

when the speaker asked          Do you
feel carnal desire?          when the
teacher claimed         You have no imagination
when the editor replied        You never
write things men will read          when the boss
joked        Why do you always wear that dress?

oh we were drawing them
drawing and quartering them          dumping them
on your street for the crows to pick          but the stench
never went away




Folk Tale

The folk were never entirely horrible.
They meant well.
It was more like they’d been . . .

well, seized, you might say.
Years later, a few story-starters tried to figure it out—
tried to piece together “first, second,”

“because, therefore,” that kind of thing.
We got as far as “not only, but also”
before we ran out of funding.

Clearly interest had lapsed.
Today’s folk don’t care to consider what
meaning well might really mean.

And who can blame them?
Photographs prove that the sun shone,
that a fat king was crowned,

that a stag as big as a mastodon
was cooked on the front lawn.
Ten eager kitchen lads turned the spit,

and the consiglieri draped a lovely lady
over every armrest.
But this is what I mean by seized:

Imagination ran away with the folk,
and the abscondery was a package tour—
like a Crusaders’ party cruise, say,

or a Caligula-themed all-ages show.
Blame Canada,
if you need a culprit,

for the results were predictable.
The kitchen lads were merrily spitted,
and the ladies got

what the consiglieri enjoyed giving,
and the fat king crawled under the table to lick his crown.
No one wanted to waste grant money

on this kind of ending.
We shut down the project years ago,
cadged jobs in the private sector,

waited for the fallout to poison Ohio.
I’ll admit, in hindsight:
maybe the folk were a little bit horrible.

They knew how to roast a stag, though.
And no one forgets a treat.





Image By:,_Oregon._(34888145821).jpg