Monday, October 8, 2018

Cub Scouts

I keep wondering why these old men
don’t scare me anymore.

It must have begun with my first and one and only
cub scout meeting, over before it began
because all us boys were left alone in the basement
a rumble broke out, biggest boys beating on the smallest,
as usual
until we heard the sound of sex upstairs
our Den Mother being raped.

I found that out later. Much later. She was raped.
Because of this, the Den Mother
went into her own den for years.

That day, though, I heard her, her voice upstairs
something maybe her bones bouncing on the floor,
elbows, knees, sound of a man, like a four-legged animal
growling, shhh-ing her, and her saying NO. NO. NO.

Underneath the rumble sounds downstairs
I said we better do something,
something bad is happening up there.
I got hit for that, red blood on the blue cub scout uniform.

Later, after it got quiet upstairs and down
and we all just sat around for awhile
me still bleeding where my Webelos badge
(or whatever it is) should be,
the Den Mother’s husband came down,
he was some sort of a scout leader, he saw me bleeding,
blamed me right off for all the broken furniture in his rec room,
and threw me out, told me to go home
go get some character somewhere.

Nobody ever asked who raped the Den Mother.
I thought it was the scout leader himself.
The Den Mother said so, later.
The cub scouts didn’t care.

So now, centuries of my life later
and the centuries still rolling along
men still mostly running the world,
why don’t they scare me anymore?

Because I know them.
That's why.
I’ve seen them.

I’ve seen them when they weren’t going off to church
and doing good for the community
coaching little league
leading scouts.

Supremely dependable, despicable
tediously predictable.
But better be fair (maybe), that’s just some of them,
like the ones in charge.

They may be in charge,
but take a look at them.
Nothing, nobody there.

I grew up in a thicket of widows
a close and sticky
lonely, prickly childhood,
for sure.

Sometimes someone would come along
and say, hey, don’t you need
an older man to look up to?

I’d look up and see the sun
later that night, the moon.
And always somewhere else
a lot farther away.

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