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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 © | Year Posted 2017

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