Papaw flipped open his Case knife,
instructing me to take hold the animal’s hind legs,
once hissing and snapping, the opossum
now stretched between him and me,
the family dog, his muzzle still stained,
chained out by the tree, prancing and grinning,
whimpering when catching a whiff of our work.
We’d all gotten called out
when they’d unchained the dog.
I knew then the name Snoopy didn’t fit
the scene I was witnessing there in the dark,
tackling the thing,
as they scratched at each other, the dog
finally clamping teeth on the neck,
The blood on my young fingers now
as I learned how to skin an animal.
Larry D. Thacker’s poetry can be found in over sixty magazines and journals including The Still Journal, Poetry South, Mad River Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Mojave River Review, Mannequin Haus, Ghost City Press, Jazz Cigarette, and Appalachian Heritage. His books include Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry books, Voice Hunting and Memory Train, as well as the forthcoming, Drifting in Awe. Visit his website at: http://www.larrydthacker.com and thackalachia