I’m not sure I was scared of the dark
as a boy or if my aging mind tells me
I should have been because who isn’t.
I do know I was terrified of falling into
a snake pit like Mattie did in True Grit
(I’m thinking of the original, buoyed by
Glen’s smooth tenor, and Wayne’s eye).
As I think about it now that snake den
was dark, so I guess I was scared of the
dark or at least what it could hold in a
writhing ball at the bottom of its heart.
Sure, I loved Rooster and LaBoeuf, but
they were big and I was small. My hero
in the movie was Mattie, a child like me
thin and unsure but betting I had the grit.
Maybe that’s why my father made sure
I memorized that movie, to learn few
battles are won alone, and to see under his
watchful eye someone small like me in
light of the technicolor sun of true love.