John Skoyles

November 2, 2013 Skoyles John


after Montale


When he saw me coming

from stickball

swinging a broom handle,

he’d call Killer

from his chair on the stoop.

Someone’s grandfather,

a steamfitter who worked

weekends at Yankee Stadium

wiping box seats with a mitt.

Killer, he’d scrawl in the air,

calling attention to my skinny frame,

a stick carrying a stick.

When I go to hell,

I know he’ll yell Killer

from his bench among the coals,
and I’ll wave

my kindling from the flames.

John Skoyles’ most recent book is Yes and No (Carnegie-Mellon, 2021).  He is the poetry editor of Ploughshares.