Lenny by Robert Cooperman


Ma’s a bitch, me grieving
for Crystal, who’d just O.D.’ed
on top of the insulin
she’d stopped taking,
and Ma made me bury her
behind her swamp shack,
Ma too busy—plotting
how to separate Grandma
from her bank accounts,
when Ma’s not entertaining
the toothless speed freak dudes
who stick to her like bees
all over the queen—
to take care of the place.

At least Crystal won’t be whining
no more about me getting a job,
or at least sticking up a bank
or convenience store,
to support her and the baby
I bet wasn’t even mine.
We’ll never know now,
the kid still inside her.

You know who’s to blame?
Grandma, for bailing out Ma
whenever she screams
she’s hurting for bread;
Grandma should’ve cut her off
when Ma left home to live here
when I was just a kid,
threatening if Grandma wanted
to see me again, she’d better
come across with dead presidents
whenever Ma needed them.

Tough love, man: what it’s all about.

Robert Cooperman is a graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. In the Colorado Gold Fever Mountains (Western Reflections Books) won the Colorado Book Award for Poetry in 2000. The Widow’s Burden (Western Reflections Books) was runner-up for the WILLA Awards from Women Writing the West.  Just Drive (Brick Road Poetry Press) and Robert Cooperman’s latest collection is DRAFT BOARD BLUES (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming from Main Street Rag is THAT SUMMER. My Shtetl won the Logan House Award in 2012. His work has appeared in the Sewanee Review, Mississippi Review, and North American Review. Cooperman lives in Denver with his wife Beth.

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