Black Socks


I’m at a strange point in my career as a human being
Strange to be here in the middle, like a waiting room
Or as one man put it a hundred years ago “graying but in harness,
meeting payments regularly”

As a child I often watched my father pull on long, black socks over his calves and almost up to his knees
His calves were so big, his socks so long and the black over white pasty skin

I went out this morning and got the hatchet from the garage and then a rooster from the coop, the one with the feathers slanted over his eyes giving a mean look

And I carried him over to the chopping block upside-down, muttering the Lord’s Prayer and looking at the sky
I put my foot over his eye and told the pig
“You shouldn’t watch this”
And then I hung the rooster’s headless body from the end of the zip line
And walked past the bucket of offal
From yesterday’s chicken
Now stinking and alive with maggots

So it is also strange how quickly life changes
From one thing to another
So that you’re never quite sure exactly what you are
Or where

And I went inside to change into my office clothes
Without showering
Because I don’t deal with the public and I’m not that dirty

And I pulled black socks up over my ankles and the meat of my calf
Passing some tiny drops of rooster blood that had managed to drip there
Black socks over red drops
And I drove down the driveway toward the office
Looking at my wife in the rear view mirror

As she was getting ready to butcher another chicken in the morning
Before the kids wake up
A strange place in my career as a human being, I tell you

July 29, 2015

Previously published in
Sheep & Monkey Poems

Art by Unknown


5 thoughts on “Black Socks”

  1. I agree with nicoleaugust. I suppose your position in your career is stranger than mine, but I’m working my way there. I know what you mean, brother. At the office, I just smile.

  2. This is one of my favorites of your poem repertoire. Very visual, with the stark white, black, and red. (I liked that other one from Sheep and Monkey poems with the nest of the birds and drowning..)
    I always attributed that image to Banksy.

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