Gary Metras: Poem

Gary Metras directed Adastra Press for many years. Now he fishes for trout and writes poems. This poem is from his recent collection Captive in the Here (Cervena Barva Press 2018). At Adastra, Gary brought out several books by Mike Casey and Tom Sexton, regular contributors to our blog. That puts him in the cosmos, so we’re glad to introduce him to our readers with the poem about Huck Finn and a lot more. 

Web photo courtesy of


Imagine Huck

by Gary Metras


Imagine Huck floundering on the Chicopee River

past factories, treatment plants, effluvia dribbling

awkward colors into the small river that empties

into the big river with its cross currents strong enough

to excite pirates on the prowl for captives, but

there are no pirates, just room after room of teachers

who steal childhoods whole with no thought of ransom.

Samuel Clemens dreaming thirty miles down river

on a hillside in Hartford, where his hair grew long

and whiter than all the picket fences sprouting

in the American Dream. Imagine Huck escaping

down the Elbe River—no one standing on the shore

waving auf wiedersehen as he disappeared into

the North Sea past Hamburg, where some English boys

would sing the new rock and roll, would sing

and drink, which the war-torn Germans understood

all too well, would sing and be alive, alive though

they broke hearts everywhere, including my cousin’s

doodling in her room after homework their names

to fill the emptiness.

I am no Huck Finn,

was never meant to be, am a grown child scribbling

this down in a low Germanic derivative after years

of kidnapping children and torturing them with verbs

and adverbs, with Homer, Shakespeare, and Dickens,

all for some franchised burger job where the boss

peeks down the shirts of all the girls bending

to retrieve floundered French fries as they trod a muck-

saddened floor, which is the path to university, so

they can be engineers, accountants, teachers and

can keep the cycle afloat, even if only in dream.







3 Responses to Gary Metras: Poem

  1. Doug Rawlings says:

    Superb! As one who has taught English Composition for over thirty years, I stand accused.