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Michael Robins

Death of the American Hobo

Like any good childhood, I repressed everything,
came up limping, one shoe & caught in a high-rise
lit, hot, twiggy. Corrective: I say I needed
not the arms of heaven but the eternal grapes
of a vineyard, any will do. In college they call me
Carlo Rossi, called me Pissant, me the Gavel
for my muteness seemed as much. Down,
down fell summer & I fished the resulting morning,
stricken at the gutting table. O the horrible fish
I’ve taken, tête-à-tête with some old flame
& I, like a fly, reply in thirty plus directions.
Tempted to say I’m ducky but, brainless,
the cat arrives, robin in her mouth & what am I
but a wingman, messing with that splendor
of a sunrise, self-absorbed, its center beyond hearing
she’s getting old. I like trains & don’t even know
how to describe it. Maybe I’m no home today.
The fly lands long to better hear the joke &
I killed it, couldn’t resist just one nor aloofness
inside a rabbit: his brown eyes, his weight
twice the red, red apple across the white
lines of the expressway. A hundred lunches, lips
never pursed or reawoken, just plumb gone.
Should someone else drive or is it that we each
get there in the end? I own no gift but a bell,
the trout farm closed to mourn & wake me
sopped in the trees. Many miss the music
flung like seed, tugging away on the lion’s ear
before the dog circles knee-deep lightning,
peonies at noon. You look at my garden, shake
all you like your head & these flowers outlive us all.

Michael Robins

Michael Robins is the author of four collections of poetry, including In Memory of Brilliance & Value (2015) and People You May Know (2020), both from Saturnalia Books. He lives in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago.

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