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Saturday, July 13, 2013


by Catherine McGuire

Cartoon by Politico's Matt Wuerker

“It’s gotten hard,” he said, shaking out a Lucky
from the pack, lighting, sucking nicotine.
“Bank slammed us with overdrafts, landlord
wants us out. Two jobs folded –
there’s nothing in this county. Nothing.”

Drizzle feathers his worn shearling coat.
He glances at me, away.
Under the anger, terror. At thirty,
strong, skilled, he chases two-bit jobs, like mine.
Between rabbits, he tells me of the farms shut down,
or selling out, of the rattle-trap car too complex
for him to fix. The job forms, the ad in Craigs List,
the silence. He dispatches the second rabbit,
cuts short its squeal with practiced aim.

He shrugs. “Might have to leave. Alaska,
shale fields… but moving costs money – what if
there’s nothing there?”
I give him five bucks, offer him a rabbit,
let him have his pick of homemade jams.
No welfare for single white men.
Let them work, the Lear jet crowd sneers.
or let them starve.

Catherine McGuire has had almost 300 poems published in venues such as: Adagio, Avocet, Folio, Fireweed, FutureCycle, Green Fuse, Main Street Rag, New Verse News, Nibble, Portland Lights Anthology and Tapjoe. Her chapbook, Palimpsests, was released by Uttered Chaos in 2011. She has three self-published chapbooks.