One time I shot a rabbit.
I’ve shot deer, wild boar, wild goats and sheep.
I never shot another rabbit, ever.
I think it was the only time
I disappointed him. I was young
nine or ten, I cried
when he picked up the carcass.
He didn’t act angry, just quietly said
I don’t need you to act like a girl.
My Uncle Bert was what in those days
would be called a man’s man.
He raised coon hounds, homing pidgins,
and ran a go cart track in back of his house.
At the front of his house was a burger joint.
He and my aunt Gladys had five girls.
On Friday night, he would arrive unannounced
to pick me up and keep me for the weekend
so he had a buddy to do boy stuff.
I loved him.
My Mother disliked him, said he had a foul mouth
and so he did. He also told off color jokes
in fact, he knew more jokes
than anybody I’ve ever seen.
His girls were older than me
and they married young. Every single one of them
had boys. From then on
I didn’t get to see him so much.
I still loved him.
You don’t see guys named Bert any more.