The other side of the family…


I have never seen a picture of him, young,
but our family has a face, a male one,
shared by uncles, thatched with red or black hair.

A face that grows handsome and narrow,
led by the nose, before the beer (or other poison)
rots the teeth and misery applies its blunt hatchet,
seeking the blood.

His hair was probably dark and curly,
but I picture it sleek, scraped in furrows from the brow
and plastered with oils the family could never have afforded,
lodged as they were in half a garage.

I know for a fact that he set out every morning
dressed as fine as his wife could make him,
shouldering the burden of his coffin-like work case
he toted each morning to Boston,
seeking a bit of fine cabinet to force his will upon.

It is always the artists who suffer

I have seen this, at least, felt the fleshy weight
of the yellow-pine handle.

I lifted it six inches from the cluttered floor
of my youngest uncles attic. Stood hunched
above a broken mirror, shattered
by the careless weight of the box
when my uncle dropped it.

I was glad it had not landed on Dave’s other heirloom,
the liberated Japanese gun.

My family is careless.
We leave everything loaded.

Wood-handled tools shifted, the sound of lost bones,
of children, unmourned and unburied.

I picture him moving, black and stooped as a vulture,
across scared train tracks, a blasted field of snow.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her work was listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Competition. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, Sentinel Quarterly, The Delinquent, De/Tached (an anthology released by Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems, And Other Poems, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Magma, Words & Music, The Quarterly Conversation, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Planet. Her work is due to appear in the next issues of Poetry Review Salzburg, Acumen, Pacific Poetry , Music& Literature, Anon, and The Screech Owl.

Posted on October 14, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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