The Ballad Of The Jack-a-Lope
Above a cloudy jar of brine
That floated greenish hard boiled eggs,
Beside a Schlitz beer waterfall
That told bar time (ten minutes fast),
A taxidermied Jack-A-Lope
With rabbit ears and tiny rack
Stared marble eyed into the dark.
“We don’t have many Jack-A-Lopes
Back home in any city bars,”
I told a man who served us drinks.
“At prices there, that’s no surprise.”
The barman said without a smile
And told us of the Jack-A-Lope:
Time was you looked, you’d find his kind,
But rarely in these mountain slopes.
They only bred in wintertime
And only in electric storms.
It’s rumored round that milk that came
From mother Jack-A-Lopes could cure
Whatever walks on twos or fours
So rare it was most called it myth
As much as Sasquatch ever was.
Until one day a dowser came
Divining where to dig a well.
And gripping his good witching stick
Could swear he saw the front branch twitch.
He scrunched his eyes and looked again.
“No, something’s in that undergrowth.”
Up popped the branchy antlers of
This fearsome critter, Jack-A-Lope.
Now as it was this dowser had
A more than common whiskey thirst.
And had to live his life downwind
From ordinary decent folk.
Like pictures of Napoleon,
He stuck his hand inside his coat,
Produced a flask of sour mash,
And threw it at this portmanteau.
Some say it hopped away afraid,
But those that know have winked and said,
“That animal attacked the flask;
Without their bourbon Jack-A-Lopes
Will fade away until they’re gone.”
Outsiders paid some license fees
For hunting season, dates of which
Cannot be found on calendars.
The most were poached as trophies for
Hotels, saloons and brothels where
The mounted heads amazed their guests.
No hunter had had an interest in
An animal that can’t be killed
Because it never ever was.
But now so heavy was the hunt
The Jack-A-Lope was soon extinct,
So every one of them was killed
To prove one time they did exist.
The bar grew quiet just as if
Some meaning might be understood.
I pointed at my empty glass
And asked the barman pouring drinks,
“What’s on that plaque below the head?”
“Some Latin words, a kind of crest.
A family motto more or less.”
Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2017
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