The University of Akron Press | Poem for November 2017

“A Bird in the Rafters at Wal-Mart” by Matthew Guenette


The poem “A Bird in the Rafters at Wal-Mart” appears in the poetry collection Vasectomania  by Matthew Guenette, published by The University of Akron Press September 2017. Visit to order a copy of Guenette’s book and browse other Akron Series in Poetry books.





A Bird in the Rafters at Wal-Mart

I took a swing at someone famous.
Except it wasn’t someone famous; it was a poster of
someone famous, so the misogynist bastard
still broke my hand.
We would ride out to Breakneck Road
and attempt beautiful things. Push a shopping cart
off a bridge, follow the wisdom
of a preemptive first punch, get wrecked
while someone’s sad step-mom
danced in her underwear.
Remember the mud derby? We fell in love
with Joan of Anarchy. We fell in love with Britney
Smears. Those concession stand sandwiches
that would never concede exactly
what they were made of…
All these years later I still have nightmares
about murderous hillbillies and chairs
made of duct-tape,
but those dreams end in a rush.
Even my disappointments have been a privilege.

Matthew Guenette received an MFA from Southern Illinois University. He is the author of two previous poetry collections: American Busboy (University of Akron Press, 2011) and Sudden Anthem (Dream Horse Press, 2008) as well as a chapbook, Civil Disobedience(Rabbit Catastrophe Press, 2017). Recent work has appeared in Forklift: OhioSpoon River Poetry ReviewSou’westerSouthern Indiana Review, and TYPO. He lives in Madison, WI, and teaches composition and creative writing at Madison College.

(Cover image of Vasectomania courtesy of The University of Akron Press, Amy Freels and Tyler Krusinski. Featured photo courtesy of The University of Akron Press)