Monday, 3 April 2017

A poem by Jerrod Schwarz


I don't know why Dad bought a stilt house—
unpainted columns at each corner, the steep grade
of the staircase, a small porch
overlooking our fallow orange grove.

His new wife crouches in the kitchen; her fingers
are the size of dough-rollers, her fingers pinch plates
out of the dishwasher.

I gather Legos and clothes and my toothbrush
into a backpack in the living room. Dad's already ground-level,
Dad's already waiting in the car.

Stepbrother sidesteps her tree-trunk hips to get a soda,
and I ask her Have you seen my shoes?
She looks at me, grabs a toothpick of a pencil,
and draws the silhouette of a man on a paper towel.

She eats the drawing and starts to cry—hands over her face,
elbows jutting into the dining room, knocking over chairs,
shattering flatware.

I see my shoes hidden behind dad's work boots.
Now I'm at the front door, on the stairs, getting into the car.
I look up at the bay window—she's standing at the sink,
she's picking pieces of a gravy boat
out of her arm, her salad bowl eyes
squinting down at the broken family heirloom.

Jerrod Schwarz is an MFA student at the University of Tampa. He is also the co-founder of Driftwood Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Maudlin House, HOOT, The Fem, Inklette, and many others. His first small collection is due out from Rinky Dink Press in December 2016.

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