Danniel Schoonebeek

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.