Today's poem is by Danniel Schoonebeek

My Life in Absentia

Some say the mother of gone to the dogs.

Others our lady of thanks for nothing.

One swears on all the fillings in his head

he saw the goddess of pickpocketing

fatten his only friend on fool's gold and next

in the saga of rotten hands, I was dealt

my life in the heart of a pocket-watch heist.

I'm told I take after father with my full head

of rust. I'm told one day the choke leaves

wouldn't leave the tree, but the man who

brought his hatchet brought home kindling.

I hear history such as this one calls his youth.

One calls his friends the ones who high

on the fire tower I hear impersonate him.

When one of them tastes my name on his

tongue they say he vomits out of violation

alone (and trespass, and scorn) and madder

root is all his mother buys him for the burn.

I hurl myself here and there, but only on days

I wake up with a mouthful of coins and look

at him do you see him spitting up all his

change, my friends say. Next I say

I fell, though I know full well I was kicked

into love with a girl whose eyes were

the color of riptide. I never understood

I say, what people meant when they spoke

of how hard a woman's face can grow,

but then my brokest summer in the field,

when my hunger was such that I planted

my rags, she brought me a flask of gunpowder

tea so hot it burned my lips—despite even, I say

that the sun was having its way with me.

The following winter I vowed, as you know,

that if I could not erase the crow's foot

from her face, I would throw my life away

like a rock thrown through a pile of snow.

When my father found this out he shot me,

once, a look like he wished he had shot me,

and landed me a job remaindering debts.

And I do. In my hands his troubles don't

endure. In my hands I hold my boss,

whose hands I touch now more than father's,

and when the two are the same man standing

behind me in the doorway, who can say if those

are not the days I steal most from the company.

Copyright © 2014 Danniel Schoonebeek All rights reserved
from American Barricade
Yes Yes Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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