Lesson from The Gold Rush #3 by Tyler Mason

Lesson from The Gold Rush #3

Opening a door
is a dangerous thing.
You never know what storm has risen out on the horizon,
or if that storm’s wind has barricaded itself in wait
against the door, so that when you open it,
you are thrown against the back of the house,
with only the fat prospector
who is with you to help. What’s worse –
the house has no foundation. It lies on ice.
And when you fly back, the house flies with you,
until you, the house, and the prospector see-saw on the
edge of a cliff.

You struggle to keep the house in proper teeter –
maybe with a chapped face – an icicle hanging
from your mustache. Because it’s cold, of course.
But some other wind blows the house back on course.
Pushes you from the edge of a cliff and your house skates
downhill, coming to a rest on a little ice field.
Safe, except you haven’t eaten in days. That’s why
you were trying to get out in the first place.
That is why you opened a door.

And what if now you are on the outside coming in. You found
no food and the storm has picked up again.
So you return and enter the house and the fat prospector
thinks you a chicken. Every “I found nothing, sir” is
not heard.

He only hears you cluck. And you say,
“We could eat one of my boots,” and that just makes
him hungrier, until he has a knife and is chasing
you around the house. So you open a door.
The storm again greets you with a harsh wind.
As you fly, you are saying, “I am not food.”
The prospector gains a little on you against the wind.
“I am not cluck,” you say.
“I am cluck cluck. I cluck-cluck-cluck.”

                – Tyler Mason
                    from Words Dance 10, Fall 2006
                    Guest-edited by Jessica Dawson