JOHNNY JOHNSON’S EXTRA THUMB

1984

Johnny Johnson was my Grandma’s cousin.

He had an extra thumb grown out of the side of his right thumb

that we always wanted to look at and touch.

But Ma wouldn’t let us ask him.

Except once when she went to get him some iced tea

we drifted over like farm dogs to a dead rat

and I said

“Can we see that thumb?”

Johnny Johnson opened the screen door with his long foot

and spit out over the wooden step

where a spotted dog slept with a new spot on his ear.

“Alright boys.”

And in his voice was wonder  and in his voice was compassion

and in his voice was manhood.                                                                             

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