Joan Colby

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They told dad that if he’d lasso the gator they’d
Remove it. Only fair, since the gator was here
Before dad ever built the house on the canal.

The gator lurked by the trash can. It could outrun
A pig,  dad always contended, not to mention a 75-
Year old man even though he played

Tennis daily and did the Swedish
Calisthenics he’d practiced since
Boyhood. He grew up with gators,

Coral snakes and panthers. It wasn’t like he
Wasn’t as much a native. He too was a
Gator, class of ’21, Phi Beta Kappa.

Some people put out kibble
For the gator so it went right to the
Source and ate their dog.

Only Yankees, Dad thought,
Would be that stupid. He was pissed off
With Fish and Wildlife—

Gators in the water hazard, you
Couldn’t retrieve a golf ball.
A man of 75 can’t wrestle

A gator, he gets angina just
Thinking how fast a gator
Can run (faster than a wild boar—

Whoever measured that, I wonder). Finally
He moved to a condo in a gated
Community with a bunch of

Leathery old gators who lounged
In the sun, eyes hooded with the deceptive
Patience of the reptile.


Joan Colby is editor of Illinois Racing News, a monthly publication for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, published by Midwest Outdoors LLC. She lives with her husband and assorted animals on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She is also associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press. Her latest books are Ribcage and Broke.