Brian Purdy (28.09.48 / Belleville, Ontario)
I Tell You, Gus...
I tell you, Gus, there's just one way
to skin a monkey, snake or frog
and don't let the buggers tell you
any different. You take your knife
or Occam's razor, whet its edge,
then do the job. Where trouble comes
is what to do when you run across
clear evidence your snake, frog, monkey, shrew
holds title to a soul like yours. Quite startling
first time you bump your nose on one
in a place you thought unlikely. Sure enough
it's white as yours, black as mine, gray
as souls can get with use - but just the barest
shreds are there, the soul having fled its anchorage -
and that's the tick of time you're glad
the kill was made before you arrived. So, look
to see your knife is sharp, untarnished
by the tide of events and finish,
but never tell a soul of this - for after all,
if told by another, would you believe?
Would you believe you? Meanwhile the soul
whose shreds you saw, has floated free
and steers toward the great, assembled armada
beside the shores of an ocean
we, as well, in time may see
- to sail again some elemental morning.
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