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 The Nut File. He is the poetry editor of Ploughshares.