Robert Burgan

Veteran Poet - 1,275 Points (Chicago)

Driftwood - Poem by Robert Burgan

Some days I feel like I washed up on the shore at a young age near my parents backdoor
Next to a stack of bad checks and a list of their flaws
Somewhere around 1997 my hands turned to claws.
Used to hear them yelling at night through a grate on the floor
Older brother tried to convince me not to worry anymore
But that's all I could do until the divorce got finalized
Somewhere around 1999 I used my claws for the first time.

Dad raised us by himself, used to drink and get high
He would tear up and beg us to stay by his side
Brother seemed bulletproof said 'Bobby, don't worry so much'
But that's all I could do until I found my own crutch
My mind felt at ease, I started climbing the walls
Around 2009 I sharpened my claws.

The three of us were in the same house together
But it always felt like I was the odd man out
The more I got used to feeling free
The easier it got to walk away, it was too much to handle
There was nothing left to laugh about
In 2011 I got blood on my claws.

I had a purpose at last!
Not just driftwood on the doorstep
Not just a scapegoat for the warheads
No longer marking time before the storm ends
In 2012 I put my claws away and washed my hands again.
It felt nice to make myself at home
Instead of feeling my stomach churn at the thought of walking alone into the great unknown
A place I actually thought was my own.

I kept my hands clean for about a year and a half
Before I started tasting blood and recapping the easy way out of a trap
I was an idiot for abandoning my hands and bringing my claws back!
I can't go home; I don't even think I can look through the window anymore
I thought you missed me, but I'm back to being driftwood that washed up on the shore.
In 2016 I committed murder with my claws.

Now I'm just driftwood on the doorstep
Marine debris or call me tidewrack
Impossible to get my life back
But I gaze across the sea and it sure looks gorgeous.

Topic(s) of this poem: coming of age, regret

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Poem Submitted: Friday, June 10, 2016

Poem Edited: Thursday, September 15, 2016

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