Hobble Creek Review
A Blue Collar Gothic Story
The men coming on third shift
saw it first: the glow of a grazing
white buck, not a ghost, but close,
with pink eyes and bright fur
that caught the edge of the moon.
The young men laughed, joked
about an early season, and lifted
imaginary rifles to their eyes.
Looking through invisible scopes,
they pulled triggers. But the old timers
just off second were nervous.
First, there had been the heavy fog
and then the strange clouds
of white moths. And now this.
With rumors of layoffs thick
in the parking lot’s night air,
someone muttered, It’s bad luck
to shoot that kind of buck, while others
agreed. When the deer disappeared
a week later, most were relieved.
The summer my brother drank too much
was the same summer that the ghost
of Mad Anthony Wayne haunted the roads
by our house. Looking for his bones,
my mother whispered as if she was telling
a secret, her bedtime stories almost lost
in the rustle of the night leaves. That summer
I knew a lot of secrets — that my brother
had lost another job, that he smoked
funny cigarettes, that he was in trouble again
with that Eckert girl, a phrase muttered
so often, I thought that was her full name.
He’s just trying to find himself, was
the explanation from my sister
dismissing both our brother
and my ghost stories with a wave of a hand.
So I listened, my head swallowed
by thick pillows, a thin blanket pulled
up past my chin. Confused about the rattle
of beer cans in the back of an old Ford,
the scrape of a loose tailpipe dragging,
the stumble of heavy steps, I wondered
which sounds were a lonely spirit,
which sounds were a lost brother, looking.
Karen Weyant is an Assistant Professor of English at Jamestown
Community College in Jamestown , New York. Her work has been
published in Slipstream, The Blue Collar Review, The Comstock
Review, and Phoebe. She was awarded a 2007 Poetry Fellowship
from the New York Foundations for the Arts and is currently working
on her first manuscript, tentatively titled, Stealing Dust.