Unpublished Poem #3: “Cycle”

I wrote this poem nearly eight years ago, back in 2006, when our first child was about a year old. I began submitting it before I was keeping records of my submissions, so I don’t know how many times it has been carried by the US postal service to an unadoring probably-newly MFA’d editor (or MFA-in-progress intern) who read it but could only muster the usual two sentence form letter that probably went something like this: “Thank you for submitting to [magazine name] but your work isn’t right for us. Better luck with it in the future.” I’ve always liked this poem . . .

Cycle

The oppressive heat, looming and ugly,
waned in October, and I want it back.
My warm feet hit the cold hard pine

floor at around six AM, in the dark. The sun
comes by seven, but gurgling black coffee
has beaten it to the punch. I’m already

awake. Facing these things is much
better than being assaulted by the alarm
clock’s mean shriek or the baby’s hazy

cries strained through the crackling
monitor. My wife doesn’t budge,
except at two-thirty when I don’t.

Lucidity goes out partying every night
of the week, and doesn’t come around
until after we’ve left the house the next

morning, gone to work. It must sit around,
watching TV all day while we earn
a living. Guess-work doesn’t pay

the bills; neither do pitiful moans and sighs.
We’re in a million long, drawn-out civil
wars, fighting over who gets to kick

down an ant-hill and feel oh-so-satisfied.
The winter asks around for death and gets it.
The withering and the pouting donate to

the cause; we’re waiting for the odds to improve—
The house shouldn’t win every time, but
I’m guessing that what goes around comes

around.

* * *

Previous posts:

Unpublished Poem #1: “Prairie Mud”

Unpublished Poem #2: “The Greatest Unknown”

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