I have called, in my wasted youth, the concrete slabs
Of prison home. Awakened to guards keeping tabs
On my breath. Bartered with every kind of madness,
The state’s mandatory minimums & my own callus.
I’ve never called a man daddy; & while sleep, twice
Wrecked cars; drank whiskey straight; nothing suffices—
I fell in love with sons I wouldn’t give my name. Once
Swam at midnight in the Atlantic’s violence,
Under the water, rattling broke the silence. I cussed
Men with fists like hambones & got beaten to dust.
Buried memories in my gut that would fill a book.
I’ve carried pistols but have never held a bullet.
There is frightful little left for me to hold in fear,
Definitely not the debt that threatens to hollow
Me. I’ve abhorred transparency, confessed to so-and-so,
But what of it matters, in this life so much has troubled,
& the few things that didn’t, never failed to baffle.