House of Corrections

by Seth Abramson

Seth Abramson

What the men want is today on offer —

a word with me in the anonymous light
whose skeleton is Tuesday and Sunday
and nothing in between.
What they will ask me is

whether a young boy who ended legs up
in a culvert is dead or alive, if oil is really
as dear as all that,
if it’s true what everyone has been saying —
that my hand recently touched a car
door. I will ask them if they remember
how it was to be a seed in the furnace

of the working class. I won’t, of course,
say that. It leads us to a dark cave
of heroism in which the young
hold sway: children who miscarried
and spent their pennies a day too soon,
nights spent in the quake
of the washing machine, the thrill
of too much violence in the living room.

And where does that go? They will plead
to stroke my clever chin, to bauble
with my legalese, to exchange anecdotes
in the depths of my svelte young throat —
to ask for jury, to ask for nothing, fuck.
O kiss my wrists they say, deliver my eyes
in this plastic to ______ on the outside,
let me suck one free breath

from the dry wag of your ears. I tell them
the sun is out (I say, it’s dark already).
I came to tell you, to tell you, I tell them:
(Forgive, I say). But all they want to know
is what it’s like to live squarely,
to wear a blameless seven-fold tie,
to lay your head down on the floorboards
and be in a home, in a home, in a home.

Last updated July 12, 2015