Bucky and his Attack Salamander, A Poem by Chris Russell

Bucky was overturning logs in his backyard, and admiring the salamander in his hand. “That’s quite a salamander you have there,” I said. “You’re just saying that in order to make yourself feel more comfortable around me,” he said. “That may be true, Bucky. But at least I’m trying to get to know you.” I said. He positioned the salamander on his palm in such a way that it was looking at me, and then began talking to it about me right in front of me. “Attack!” Bucky said. The salamander jumped from his palm and began to try to crawl between my crossed forearms, into my neck area the way a Doberman tries to lick your neck, except its little teeth were bared, and I thought I heard some angry sounds coming from it. I took it to the ground and tried to put it in a restraint that would give me the extra second I needed to back away without getting a backhand from it. Bucky watched beside a lady slipper. I put in a full nelson, and it raised its arm straight up, using its body weight to slip out of my grip and down between my legs, where it up-punched me in the groin. Before I knew it Bucky had put me in a figure-four-leg-lock, and his little buddy was licking his teeth on the tip of my nose. I prayed to the God of holy murder and super strength that he might make me fast enough to un-pretzel myself before arteries got severed, and return with an attack that could not be thwarted. I broke my legs. I broke my arms. I pulled the arteries out of my throat. There was nothing they could do to me I hadn’t already done to myself. I was alone. My niece saw me through the kitchen window and came outside. “What are you doing out here on the grass, break dancing?” She said. “Let’s go downtown to the state house and stop some traffic,” I said. “We just came back from the state house,” she said. “Oh, why didn’t you say so,” I said. I could see she was getting frustrated with not being able to tell her ass from her elbow. Maybe she was developing a tick.

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