Scott LaMascus πŸ”ˆ

Quicksand Again!

For Jeff Mankin, who watched The Lone Ranger, too.

There it is, labeled with a wooden
“Quick Sand” sign on grainy
mid-century TV, lurking
behind every rock and tree waiting
for the heroes – the Lone Ranger
or Batman. Even the accidental
heroes, Barney and Beaver. A fixture
of adult life. Most dangerous barrier
in the universe for our hero to face
as he (always he) untied Polly
on the tracks or rescued children
from fire in time to return home
to dinner. Aunt Bea might help,
but the heroes were men and she
was busy in the parlor. I imagined
all fathers and our parents' friends
grabbing tree limbs and lariats
to pull someone from a dastardly jam
making our world safe again
for women and children. Now

I think back to their actual lives
and imagine that slurry of cornflakes
over a sunken step ladder. More
likely one sat in the idling car alone
while the other went into the bar
to bring Dewey out. Or to get him out
of the wrong trailer and safely home
to his kids. Likely whispered
prayers through clenched teeth, prayers
a lot like my demanding plea -
Get me thru! Or those dark and vast
questions – Why? and What should I do?
Their secret conspiracy of adults
was to throw that lariat together
as she looped it around a tree
while he searched out a branch. Shared
that simplest exclamation, Oh, God! -
followed by silence and held hands
in the dark. Today I ask no quicksand,
please, but if I must, let me not face it alone.

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About the Author

Scott LaMascus is an educator, writer and public-humanities advocate in Oklahoma. He is recipient of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create free, public events with writers who have included poet Robert Pinsky, novelist Marilynne Robinson, playwright Henry David Hwang, and activist Bryan Stevenson. He is an MFA candidate at Antioch University, Los Angeles.