Two Poems by Tim Peeler

Rougher Beast

I took my train­ing from daddy,

Drunk­en wak­ing me at three am

With a belt buck­le across my legs.

First three or four licks left red welts;

Then I numbed and hardened,

Nev­er giv­ing in when he screamed

Cry you lit­tle bas­tard, cry,

So’s I can stop, but he didn’t

And I grit­ted my teeth

And dug my knuckles

Into the bed roll

Till he fell into a cough­ing fit

Then began to cry hisself.


Rougher Beast 14

That preach­er said if you try

Hard enough you can feel it

And I watched my broth­er walk

Down to the altar call, fall

On his knees blub­ber­ing prayers

And I tried talk­ing to God

I said please let me feel it

Let me know that this is real

The wid­ow played the organ

And the con­gre­ga­tion moaned

But I sat my head ringing

With the com­mo­tion till the

Build­ing and peo­ple vibed

Togeth­er like a mess of

Hogs smelling the feed barrel

When I opened up the lid

And I felt noth­ing but a

Hard knot form­ing inside me.

peelerTim Peeler's most recent books are Hen­ry Riv­er: An Amer­i­can Ruin from Lum­mox Press and Knuck­le Bear from Red Dirt Press.

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