Do us scofflaws belong here us scoured and laughingstock who drag up our work sacks our brickbags yes trowels our mortar us women whose bellies are sag low and scuff and leave a white trail where they drag cross the floor Do our husbands assigned us wake up in the trenches and hear us salute our nimrod our blind man (who carved us our plot is who fired our furnace) and our blessing’s our work and our building’s our blessing • Letter the peregrine delivers my husband each morning reads death to the boss because boss means you watch him when he shears my wool in the break room and burning his name in my flanks you won’t doubt I’m livestock A boss is like god only smarter a boss means you hear him he settles my name in the ledger and signing his name on my timesheet he writes I’m babel in chalk His signature doesn’t it look good to eat just like peasant bread All the holes nibbled through in his yeast all his crusts good and stale for my soups A boss means the leather that holds up my slacks he scratches his name there the pennies I place in my loafers that shine on the tongue It’s death to the boss because boss means he authors the front of my paycheck and husband believe me I witness him A fresh coat of flour his name on the crumbs I sneak home His name is the mouse god when the mouse god abandons his hole And husband why is my name always looks like the last train through town hit it Or better yet our blind nimrod’s chariot And answer me husband will the boss sign me too When you answer me husband will the boss sign you When she cries will we see in chalk in her mouth the boss on our child’s dead tooth Let’s pray he signs her with fire and we all call her gospel Let’s pray on my cable back south to the trenches I graze past the boss on his way to the heavens
Danniel Schoonebeek’s first book of poems, American Barricade, will be published by YesYes Books in 2014. A chapbook, Family Album, is forthcoming from Poor Claudia this fall. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Tin House, Boston Review, Fence, Gulf Coast, BOMB, Indiana Review, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, Verse Daily, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere. He writes a monthly column on poetry for The American Reader, hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn, and edits the PEN Poetry Series.