Oct/Nov 2012 Poetry

Turok the Dinosaur Hunter

by Michael Estabrook

Turok the Dinosaur Hunter

Suddenly materializing in my mind
(I don't know why):
the railroad tracks beyond Milltown Road,
we played on when I was a boy,
slashed seemingly deep
into the countryside, steep
dirt walls we'd slide down onto the tracks below,
then struggle to climb back up again.

Sometimes we'd place pennies
on the tracks,
retrieve them flattened
and misshapen like fossilized bronze amoebas,
after the train rumbled by,
a dinosaur on steroids—massive, unstoppable,
undeterred by us puny boys spying, mystified,
fearful of being seen (and caught).

Sometimes we'd escape down the tracks
clutching apples we'd swiped from Old Smith's Orchard.

Sometimes I'd accompany Willie
toting his shotgun and he'd shoot
at signs and bottles and pine cones
(but never at birds or rabbits or squirrels,
when I was with him anyway).
I'd throw tin cans in the air,
he'd take aim and...

But mostly we'd play soldiers
or cowboys and Indians
or Turok the Dinosaur Hunter scampering
up and down the dirt-orange cliffs
protecting the tracks from the civilization
all around, vanishing into a gully
or behind a tree
when the smoky beast rumbled by.


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