Poem of the Week | June 21, 2021

This week’s Poem of the Week is “Microwaving Sub Sandwiches in the Trailer” by Bryce Berkowitz!

Bryce Berkowitz is the author of Bermuda Ferris Wheel, winner of the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award (forthcoming 2021). His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, New Poetry from the Midwest, The Sewanee Review, Ninth Letter, Nashville Review, Cimarron Review, and other publications. He teaches at Butler University. You can read more of his work at: www.bryceberkowitz.com


Microwaving Sub Sandwiches in the Trailer

You’ll never see poor as beautiful.
That could’ve been my life is what I’m saying.
That used to be my life is what I’m saying.
Some days I can’t face life is what I’m saying.
Back then, green plastic paratroopers were all I knew.
I tossed them how a child tosses a football alone—
in one high arc, too close to the body—
and when they sailed to the ground,
that was the same ground where I spent
my first shell casings. Where my father’s hands
wrapped my hands. Where my hands wrapped
the warm handle. Our faces disappearing
into the gray bloom of gun powder. We had
everything but money. Who are you to tell me,
Don’t say please? Who are you to decide,
what’s a good way of daydreaming? Who are you
to ask, Where are you going with this? I shouldn’t
be taking so many pictures of the sky, but I am.
I can see that you think we’re the same.
But where are your wings? The gravel road ends.


Author’s Note

I moved to a trailer park when I was 11 years old. Don’t take that as a negative statement. I’m saying, there were kids everywhere. You could play basketball, baseball, ride bikes, make new friends—whatever—at a moment’s notice. This was around the time when I discovered cooking. My early culinary adventures consisted of assembling hoagie sandwiches and warming them up in a microwave—not exactly Anthony Bourdain, but I thought they were awesome. My dad and I weren’t gun nuts. Neither of us cared about hunting. We shot pistols at milk jugs and coffee cans (he was a federal firearms instructor), but this was just an activity—fire bullets, talk about life. This poem was an attempt to invoke the unconventional beauty of those times and that place. It was also an exercise in voice and content. Sometimes I censor myself. Sometimes I doubt myself. Sometimes I ruminate over should I say that, can I say that, if I write my I-don’t-give-a-fuck poems will any publication accept them? Inevitably, and after I get pent up enough, the words come pouring out… When that happens, poems like this emerge. There’s a lesson in that. I’m working on more of these poems for book two.