Vox Populi

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Robert Walicki: Afraid

You were afraid they could tell by looking

you were that kind of man, because of the dead


deer who dove into the front end of your truck

head first. I saw horns , you said, and they asked why


didn’t you stop for the rack? It was

because you were shaking and your breath


left your body like an apparition.

Because you left him there,


carried his blood with you on a dented fender

while plumbers in hard hats joked,


caressed twisted steel as if it were a trophy.

looked at you differently after this,


handed you tools instead of Hey get this,

let you drill holes by yourself in steel roofs,


knees bent, grinder bearing down

throwing sparks, screaming into air.


Don’t say it, or anything.

You’re only defense is to cut metal,


in skips and burning stars, sharp as the wind chill

afraid to say the wrong thing —


beautiful, instead of cool and good job.

Like how unwashed denim can save you, stiffen your walk


in the harsh shrill wind, and grab a wrench,

something heavy enough to kill a man or tighten a nut.


Everyone here looking tough without trying,

grabbing their crotches to adjust, spit chew,


stare longer than they should at you,

as if they know. And they do.


Copyright 2017 Robert Walicki

Robert Walicki is a poet and licensed plumber who lives in Pittsburgh.


5 comments on “Robert Walicki: Afraid

  1. Diana L Elser
    March 4, 2017

    A lot of layers to this, superb observation, love the form – well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. triciaknoll
    February 28, 2017

    We need more of this kind of man. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Daniela Buccilli
    February 28, 2017

    Great poem! I want to read it to my students, my husband, to every cluster of men in hard hats I see.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia A. Nugent
    February 28, 2017

    WOW. Powerful. I too know a plumber-poet who also inspires. Certainly MUCH better than Joe the Plumber! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. magaly colon colon
    February 28, 2017

    Congratulations for such a talent !. One of the bests advantages of technology is that It gives us acess to these things.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , .

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