Troy Schoultz

resides in Oshkosh, WI. His most recent collection is 2016’sBiographies of Runaway Dogs (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press). His next collection tentatively titled No More Quiet Entrances, should be released sometime in 2020. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley.

False Daylight

           Lake Petenwell, Mid-1970's

A few campsites over, a local motorcycle club fueled
on cheap booze, drugs, and fireworks circled
the bonfire. Roman candles arched, plumed
above the tents, exploding with lightning
hue, jarring the campground into false daylight.

My uncle was a number of years away
from the jungles of Vietnam. Still, drunken
explosions and the outraged screech of tires
and gears tore him back to war relics
long retired in the attic. When a candle blast came
too close to my one cousin’s head,

we took cover in campers and tents.
My uncle grabbed a bat and walked
into the inferno, silhouetted by man
and machines. One swing
separated rider from his ride. My uncle
would’ve dragged him to the lake,
held him underwater, would’ve drowned him
if the county hadn’t arrived.