Current Occupation: Behavioral Health Technician, caring for people who are mentally challenged
Former Occupation: Twenty years as a Food Service Supervisor, mostly in a 300-bed hospital
Contact Information: donnarkevic: Nutter Fort, WV. MFA National University. Recent poetry has appeared in Triggerfish, Nassau Review, and About Place Journal. A Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee. Poetry Chapbooks include Laundry, published in 2005 by Main Street Rag. FutureCycle Press published, Admissions, a book of poems, in 2013. Many Sparrows, a book of poems was published in 2018 by The Poetry Box. Plays have received readings in Chicago, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia.
There is not much to tell.
I would describe myself as unemployed.
I do not know what I will be doing
five years from now. I may be dead,
a suicide. I have had experience
in sales. I sold my birthright
to a man on a corner for a couple grams.
No, Sir, I cannot pass a pee test.
To be honest, I am not trustworthy.
I cheated on my wife. She is a doctor
of philosophy. Once, I believed
she tried to poison me like Socrates,
but I felt better after she kicked me out.
My best quality is thrift.
I can live on a shoestring. In fact,
I want to die with my boots on.
No, Sir, I do not plan on hanging
myself with my shoestrings.
At the Methodist Mission,
the ceilings are too high, and I am afraid
of heights. Same goes for bridges.
I do have transportation.
I can walk, unlike my war buddy
who fought in Iraq. Fucking IED.
No, Sir, I do not think it is appropriate
to cuss in the workplace.
Like your company, I am motivated by money.
I handle stress like a snake charmer.
Having been bitten in the ass a few times . . .
Yes, Sir, no cussing in the workplace.
When my last boss fired me,
he said I wasn’t a good fit, like some old shoe.
I am wearing my war buddy’s Nikes.
He no longer needs them. Lucky me.
Nike is the goddess of victory.
No, Sir, I was not proselytizing.
I enjoy working alone.
If you need a team player,
I’ve got your back like a Kevlar vest.
I don’t have pet peeves, just goldfish.
If needed I can gut any hostile like a deer.
Yes, Sir, no violence in the workplace.
Just one question, Sir. When do I start?
The Ohio River
As a child, I heard stories
about the unforgiving Ohio,
how kids disappeared in the dark
cold water like paper- mâché puppets,
bodies never found.
As a child, I watched my mother
sweep the porch of steel mill soot,
each day, a black sunrise.
No one cared.
The money good as a new Buick.
As a child, from the polluted river,
I caught catfish and carp,
good for nothing
except fertilizing the backyard garden
of tomatoes, onions, peppers.
As a child, barges clogged the Ohio.
From shore I waved to fearless men
taming the terrifying water,
delivering cargo to the miles
of smokestacks, blast furnaces,
and gray steel buildings, producing
tin plate, I-beams, pipe, and jobs.
As an adult, the river is a scar,
a reminder of a life I once believed
would never end.
Along the shores, no mill,
Torn down, sold for scrap,
No trains, no railroad tracks,
Uprooted, sold for scrap,
The barges, a rare sighting,
my children asking
What are those; what
are they for?