“Do You Want to Be a Burden?”
Ace Boggess

   – R.S. Gwynn, “Looney Tunes”

I can’t repair my own clothes—stitch-weary,
thread-blind. I tried, but gashes
expand as I do, dense black holes
sucking everything in. I cook,
if you don’t mind charred & brittle,
all that sameness, so-so. At least,
I’m master mixologist of marinades,
although it’s up to you to stalk the prey,
slaughter, skin, fillet, & drag the morsels
to the flames. Want me to paint your house?
As long as it has no lines. Otherwise,
I’m a child filling in dinosaurs,
my hands too small to hold the purple
Crayon straight. I’ll mow the lawn
if you’re not afraid; chop wood,
but would you trust me going
near your dainty heirlooms with an ax?
I wasn’t built for practical applications.
I’m like a trap designed to snare
one specific mouse. I have my language,
a specialist’s code like Cobol or Pascal.
Not good for much, I promise
to lighten your load if you ever
figure out how to make use of me:
preparing a moonlight serenade,
tasting the wine for poison,
falling asleep like a tabby in your arms.

Ace Boggess is author of the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016) and two books of poetry, most recently, The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014). Forthcoming is a third poetry collection: Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.