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Uncle Douglas and the Whirring Blades
Uncle Douglas scolded my brother and me
for dawdling, called us his pests
and teased us, big knuckles
thumping our skulls like drums,

then whisked candy canes
out of our ears and armpits.
Uncle Douglas fattened pigs for market.
His windmill pumped sweet water

to troughs and slaughter barn,
hundreds of chubby pigs grunting
and bumping buckets of grain and slop.
His dark eyes crossed and uncrossed,

his hairy nostrils wheezed--Wolf snout,
my brother whispered one night--
the wolf that puffed the pigs' house down
and ate them. If he's a wolf,

I wondered, where is his tail?
He cursed me, Dummy, under his coveralls.
Look how fat his bottom is, his belly:
he eats little nephews. Lie down

and go to sleep. All night the windmill
groaned and rattled, the squeal
of whirring blades, the room so dark
I swore he was at the door.

-- Walter McDonald



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