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THE FIRST ARMADILLO
(Hopkins County, 1938)

by Robert G. Cowser
Robert G. Cowser

My father saw the first armadillo
To arrive in our North Texas county,
Its shape as strange to him
As a Spanish accent to Scotch-Irish yeomen.
The armadillo and its mate
Must have swum the Sabine,
Stomachs and intestines inflated,
A rather gentle Armada, as galleons go.
Scattering the rabbits and puzzling the owls,
This pair foraged their way across the acres
Between the River and our farm.

Then light from the full moon
Must have awakened my father,
Or perhaps it was the absolute stillness
In the house that July midnight
That sent him to the porch in search of cooler air.
From where he stood near the railing
He glimpsed the armadillo
On the tongue of the hay wagon,
Arrested for a moment on the edge of change
Before it dropped to the ground.



Robert G. Cowser May 4, 2015 Guest Column
Published in The Old Hickory Review (1988) 45.

More Columns by Robert G. Cowser

Forum:

Subject: Mr. Cowser's First Armadillo

I couldn't breathe well fighting the striped mattress ticking with it's many lumps in the hot, still, dry West Texas night that he describes until I had been on the front porch awhile. I'm pretty sure I heard insects making their night noises as my sweaty flour sack nightgown dried against my skin. This gentleman evokes such crystal clear images. I'm happy to have been able to read this. That gritty red dirt is stuck to the soles of my bare feet, too. - Frances Giles, May 04, 2015


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