Uncle Saloogy has definite opinions
which he calls laws. Break one
and he tosses you in his mental jail,
no lawyer to present your case.
You’ll rot, starve. He says all that matters
is being right. He knows he’s right—
the jail bars thicken overnight,
the key can’t tease open the lock.
Before I went to jail, I built a shelf
which held cherries and a red hollyhock
in a vase. He confiscated all I had, fed
my dreams to wrens. Even after he died,
the bars stayed firm. I learned
to saw them off with my teeth.
Aunt Stokesia’s Three Big Pronouncements
As a child I couldn’t pronounce my name.
Vowels clashed. I asked my parents
to change my name.
We’ll call you Stokes, they said.
I pronounced myself Stokes. She had
a better life than Stokesia who watched
too much TV in the basement. When Stokes
got married, Pastor Agon pronounced me
a wife. This sounded final, like a window
slammed on her fingers. Divorce came soon.
When my mother died, the nurse pronounced
her dead. I had read about cremation,
the temperature required, too low
to burn away a single memory.
Night doesn’t really fall,
it creeps in like a dream
into my sleep, I loll
in peace, big
and deep under
a red-bucket moon.
Kenneth Pobo is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections. Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), Dindi Expecting Snow (Duck Lake Books), and Wingbuds (cyberwit.net), and Uneven Steven (Assure Press). In addition to poetry, he also writes fiction and essays. For the past thirty-plus years he taught at Widener University and retired in 2020.