Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Junebugs

Hey boy come here—quick,
so he dropped his rake and
ran to the yard by the house

where probably five hundred
junebugs like a pile of emeralds
and rubies glistened crawling

over each other under each other
in the grass. By god look at them
fornicating, he said and his son

said Hold on, I got an idea, and ran
to the house for the bundle of
twine and gunpowder he had tied

together into a bomb for such
a purpose and blew an equally
glittering hole into the yard

a foot into the earth and the punch
his father landed reverberated
in his skull for the rest of his life

and when the assassin fired
it was the last thing he saw—
junebugs everywhere crawling

glistening in the tall summer grass.

Note: Charles King, in his Reminiscences and Recollections, reports an epidemic of junebugs in Indiana during the summer of 1823. The Kings lived nearby, and Charles worked on the Lincoln farm as a boy. Charles King became an inventor and is responsible for the hog blade, the rooster comb (both tools for slaughter), the radio cylinder, and the bristle toothbrush.

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