The jake, the poet (and his mother)

First, my ass is sore from sitting all day, no time for a nap and line breaks
driving me so crazy that getting up to drink or even go to the bathroom’s impossible.

Then Mom’s new jake turkey’s at the door
in the dog’s mouth.

I scold the hound, free the bird, wipe the slime off his feathers,
set him back on the gravel and watch him walk away, mostly okay,

like a drunk. Then I step around the corner and pee on a bush.
Poor bush. I used to think those same words sometimes when he was President.

Inside I decide I’m done with the viewless wings of poesy, pour out
Mom’s gin for the third time in a week, drink a tall glass of water,

sit on the couch, tilt to my right and let one rip.
Nice. I start a movie —

not a movie, but Mad Men. Don Draper. Back in the old days
no woman ever said no. Cool. Which is why I was even born,

Mom said. The old days were hopeful days! Then the news:
a spokesman at the school says he’s heartened to hear no boys were raped by coaches, at least,

and confident they can throw these three particular young black men under the bus
for cheating in class and get on with their season.

I see the dog’s stiff tail clocking happily back and forth among the weeds.
When I stand to look out to the yard, I see the jake’s gone.

Poor Mom. It’ll be Thanksgiving before she notices but I’m here to tell you
she had high hopes for that bird — never seen her so happy

as when she burst through the door red-faced and blue-eyed
holding that baby turkey. Look! she said, petting its dumb little head.

Sidney—she said
like she always said the names of her lovers, tasting them,

rolling the syllables off her tongue like pebbles—Sidney
said he had a present for me, and for once he wasn’t lying!

Hope’s the thing with feathers — right? — or maybe not. Maybe it’s the happy dog
eating in the weeds, or maybe it’s just the feathers,

a few pinkish ones still floating in the air over the front walk
like a magic trick just happened.