A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics
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.