Drunkard's Garden
F. Daniel Rzicznek

Drunkard's Garden

Open acres begat bare grass,
and sunshine begat headache.
What felt like a farmhand
raking out the old fool’s soul

was the rattle the fool woke
to, a wind kicking the roof
under years and years of
weather and crows. All his years

of it came down to midday blackouts
and the staked-in sense that within,
some slower work accelerated:

bundle of coal unwrapping
among a multitude of cells —
interloper braiding its lithe body
through bone, then brainstem.

Temples begat exhaustion
begat tremor begat nightmare.
His neighbor raking wet leaves:
a skeleton contorting itself.

He’s lost it now, let it slip
among root bulbs and windfall:
the rat snake bringing its armor
through bramble and dead basil.

F. Daniel Rzicznek

is the author of two poetry collections, Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, 2009) and Neck of the World (Utah State University Press, 2007), as well as four chapbooks, most recently Live Feeds (Epiphany Editions, 2015). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, Drunken Boat, TYPO, Forklift, Ohio, and other journals. Rzicznek is coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press, 2010) and teaches writing at Bowling Green State University.