Wednesday, April 25, 2012

24 of 30 Elegy for Ben Sztuba

Your house, the horror house
the doberman vicious,one eyed, blind and tumorous
clawing inside the door.
shouting, and barking

The phones torn from the walls,
kept locked in the trunk of your car
your heavy hands, blurry tattoos on the knuckles
"love" and "wine", motor oil in the cracked skin

Another woman's name on your forearm
your belt worn sideways,
a motorhead, a mechanic
drinker of cheap Polish brandy

Your family learned to live around your edges
and I learned to move
in that undercurrent of fear
to leave when you came home

Your youngest son a policeman now,
he answers the calls
for men like you, impotent and angry
full of stupid spite

what misery it must have taken have taken
to make our house a refuge
our house of hoarded metal, of shuttered windows
our dirt and danger seem safer than home

His brother always your greasy mirror,
a thief of bicycles, a bully
a sadist with a clothespin
your wife, bending spoons
and reading tarot, a captive gypsy witch
with no plan of escape
When I learned of your death
of the loss of my father's only friend
I let out the breath I did not know I held
I let my footsteps fall louder on the stairs

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