Night Boys

Night boys
revving and rumbling
‘round the lakes,
curvy back roads
empties tumbling
last lap, another pass by
that curvy ex-girlfriend’s
he used to pull in, cry
flash his high beams
like he was jacking deer
just to see her; he dreams
the shifty rites of coydogs
tilted heads, truck howls
farther from the city,
the louder the engine
mostly for show, mostly
testosterone, bravado
when each is on his own
safe among the familiar,
bearded, the evening air
cloaks them like flannel
the skin of their kin
—but in these rural
open parts, the alpha male
leads his pack of boyhounds
to lay claim to territory,
mark their mates, the females,
defend their hunting grounds
delineated on a mental map
instinctual, his birthright.
Everybody says it:
but they’re good boys.
Hey, they got a permit.

The sexual anthropologist
compares: the urban kind,
who can’t stand itchy fists
confuse boundary lines
blocks, streets, city limits
quell the pseudo-wolfsong
sweaty stench of cowardice
make mischief out of some
dark gut-wrenched wrong
a restless yearning
for hills and fields
streams and ponds
sends them wilding
in sharp back alleys
abandoned buildings
a taste for the tally
tall teetering girls, homeless,
elders, a sally—the night boys
keep score like sports fans,
in athletic pants, too baggy,
they lope through the shadows
a trail behind them that mimics
their every move, the marrow
that gnaws back, a raw sickness,
thick with fur they shave off
to hide their otherness,
even from each other
take turns maiming
after-slaps, fraternal
caresses, a primordial
taming of the running shoe.

The scent of gunsmoke
hangs in the midnight mist
descends on the Mainiacal ones
who know whose buckshot
narrowly missed
deep in the belly
of the forest.

~Leah C. Stetson 

 

This poem is part of a 30-poem series in support of the nonprofit Tupelo Press. Please consider making a charitable donation (tax deductible) to support this wonderful literary press. When you donate, please indicate that the donation is “in honor of” or mention my name in the notes field on the PayPal page for your donation. That way the staff at the Tupelo Press will know that it is from this 30/30 poetry challenge and my fundraising efforts. Thank you!TP Donate