By: Ryan Quinn Flanagan
It had taken many professionals to snare it.
Many more to transport and care for the phrase.
As it worked its way around the perimeter of the enclosure.
Mapping out its new surroundings.
After all its shots and a checkup with the vet.
The zoo goers gathering around to catch a glimpse
of this rarely seen phrase.
Then on to the house of reptiles.
Before the big cats and a late lunch.
First, I took a saw and cut through one of the legs.
Wood shavings covered the floor below.
Then I grabbed a drill and tightened the base
to the top.
Another leg required a hammer to knock everything
back into alignment.
Then the saw again to another leg at the base.
Gluing the new parts on as I went.
Operating on this table that had seen better days.
A young assistant to pass me my tools.
Our best years behind us,
except for maybe the young one.
It was hardly my best work,
but far from my worst.
Then I cleaned up and let the glue set.
Giving our brave wooden friend time to recover.
Long Shore Man
He seemed at least two feet taller.
Even with his feet grounded in the sand.
On that private beach that had public access a few miles away.
Named after some strange fish no one could ever remember catching.
And a couple of the boat party pointed to the shore.
Remarked how tall the man back on the beach must be.
Distance was deceptive on the open waters, this was true.
But many pegged the man at well over 7 feet.
Some hardcore gambler on board suggesting they bet on it.
Everyone else on the beach seemed to be holidaying in miniature.
The captain of the vessel brining up more champagne from below deck.
All the ladies under long flowing hats so sunstroke did not set in.
As the tall man back on shore waved to the passing boat.
Which made him even taller.
No one could pick it up
and throw it,
this odd ball that weighed
almost half a tonne,
not even oval shaped
or stitched where there
should be stitching,
growling whenever anyone approached
so that everyone stole second
and everyone else strolled
I follow them down the hill.
My eyes just tiny twin trasers on the ski lift above.
I see this man descend the hill at great speed.
Directionless worms sticking out of both sides of him.
Seeming to steady the man as they wiggle around.
Two directionless worms bending at weird angles
There is a short line at the top of the hill.
More directionless worms waiting their turn to wriggle.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Literary Yard, Ariel Chart, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.