Deep In High Timber by David Spicer

I spent too much time eating chocolate
eggs on our swamp shack’s screen porch
near the freeway. That fortified me before
I vowed never to yawn lest I perish,
and didn’t complain when my hedgehog
of an old man splattered hot coffee–it
wasn’t that latte piss, either–in my face
when I dared to wear sunflowers in my
Sioux-black hair. I strangled him when he
buried my malachite chess set after I
checkmated him once too often.
I was fifteen, didn’t repay the favor of dirt
blanketing his runt-fat body, scribbled
a note to my death-bed mother, canceled
my subscription to Resurrection–
like that rock-star poet who croaked in Paris–
and wiped off grime from my red silk shirt,
straggling to the way station to shut the door
on my past and join the army. Now, a mercenary
deep in high timber of pine trees, avoiding
the gas chamber the old man destined me
to visit, I confess: if I had a penny for each
time I’ve proved him wrong, I’d own this
outfit that pays me. These other sad
yahoos have kept maps of revenge
to themselves but destroy, like me,
any unlucky sap they chase:
we hunt demons we don’t know by name,
but who deserve the mayhem we choose
to inflict, appeasing ourselves by disguising
it as justice our fathers never received.

David Spicer
David Spicer has had poems in Yellow Mama, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, In Between Hangovers, The American Poetry Review, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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