Louie Skipper


Bestiary for an October Night

It was the late 70’s and I sat in the bleachers
one windy night to toast a coach named
after the bear he wrestled down as a boy in Arkansas.
An old man now, he waited us out
while under the lights a dance troupe from New York City
took to the twenty, more than a hundred
moving in unison in hound’s-tooth hats.

The Bear never looked up.
Could be so many images of one man repeated
was too much even for him. Still,
when the elephant came out of the end zone
he was quick enough to mumble into a megaphone,
“What the hell’s going on?”
I do not believe he had ever stopped to figure why

an elephant was the mascot of a football team
named after a tide of biblical blood,
only how the Crimson Tide came
between the Bengal Tigers and the Nittany Lions,
and where he himself stood, a game away
from passing Amos Alonzo Stagg
who, like the elephant, would soon be left in the outer dark.

"Bestiary for an October Night" capsizes  “Lines Written in Dejection” by W.B. Yeats.