Prerequisites


Homer Horton, known as Uncle Bob,
took me aside in the butcher shop

and said: “If you go to med school,
you’ll be glad you learned how to cut up

a side of beef. Of course you’ll have to take
your Latin and your Greek.” He was 65 in ’65

when he told me this. He didn’t know
they weren’t prerequisites any more.

Nor did I tell him he needed to update
his mental maps like a keen geographer.

He sometimes bickered with the other butchers.
But he was excellent with customers.

From the freezer I once brought him an oxtail
because I had no clue what it was. So I asked.

“Oh that,” he said. “That there’s a flyswatter.”

Ken Fontenot was born and raised in New Orleans. Slough Press will bring out his first novel in November 2010.

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