Climbing the bales in the haymow,
to swing with buddies on the rope-
hook we’d found, we had no fear,

just lived for adventure
and found it: corncob fights and battles –
cousin against cousin – for the pig pond.

Once, alone, I crossed the cabbage patch
to see the great white heads, holes bitten deep
in them, by worms thick as thumbs.  Green creatures,

crawling from under the outhouse, where my one-eyed
grandma, bent over, said bag-rats would bite my bag. 
So I waited, dug at a cabbage with my jack knife.

Outside the outhouse a mole hole
opened against a steel-knife trap –
spring-ready – to kill whatever.




Mike Lewis-Beck, a PhD from Michigan, writes and works in Iowa City. He has pieces in Fox Cry Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Pilgrimage, Iowa Review, Seminary Ridge Review and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. His short story, “Delivery in Göteborg,” received a finalist prize from Chariton Review, 2015.