Friday, August 17, 2012

Shifty Meininger

Shifty Meininger
by Robert Nordstrom

It all starts with a doodle,
always a doodle,
triangles with convex
or concave supports
burdened beneath the weight of
blackened-in circles
whose imperfect circumferences
grow larger and larger
as the hand tries to
steady the mind until
—voila—there’s an eye, a nose, or
even, just now, a marble and
—voila again—Shifty Meininger,
the best shot on the playground,
his skinny as a doodle ten-year-old self
leaning back, right foot cut
inward and inching up
to the scratch I scratched
with a stick in the dirt,
left eye shut,
right one squinting
on my prize cat’s eye boulder,
holding that shiny silver steely
I’ve coveted since it spilled out
of his bag delicately between
thumb and finger finger,
and I’m thinking
what kind of fool puts up
his prize cat’s eye boulder against
a guy named Shifty
as he slides his hand
forward and back
forward and back and
—voila—lets it fly
true, too true, splitting
my cat’s eye right in half
in an odd kind of Sunday School justice
that makes me think of
wise old King Solomon
and how I should have told Shifty
as he was eying up my cat’s eye:
Stop, just take it, go on take it,
it’s yours.

~ Originally published in Peninsula Pulse