★ ★ ★ ★



Sit at the upstairs window,
the big bay, protruding
like a hypothyroidic eye
toward the west.
Watch the storm approach
like age, like infirmity,
like a debt to be collected.

Crack the casement, let it in,
let it all in, the air,
the future, the dew of
what’s to come, all that
it will do with you.
All the world’s changes
you cannot resist.


God’s a mean drunk, I tell you,
with his hurricanes, meteor showers,
floods and firestorms redrawing
the cosmic map every few hours.
Not a day goes by he doesn’t
raise some kind of hell or topple
someone’s house of cards.
He’s a bastard, I tell you,
when he gets on the hard stuff,
laying down childhood leukemia
like an ace in an all-or-nothing
game of blackjack, throwing
bone cancer in your face
like a handful of confetti
on New Year’s Eve.
No repercussions, nothing
you can do once he’s on
a tear, the barn’s gonna burn
and that child is staying
at the bottom of the pool.

The poetry and prose of Robert L. Penick have appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, and The California Quarterly.  His latest book is Exit, Stage Left, from Slipstream Press, and more of his writing can be found at     


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