by John Russell Monagle
As I watch the pigs in the sty devour the slop I have laid before them, I wish I could eat as well as them. My muscles ache from lifting feed buckets. My hands are raw and blistered from tilling soil. Lungs press against the rib cage when I breath and eyelids are heavy. I enter into entombed sleep with the last thoughts awake remembering yesterday years in iniquity's den where I prematurely spent the inheritance on dissolute gluttony. Harlots gave only their bodies expecting, receiving only coins for mine before I resided on guttered grimy streets, shamefully glancing at those whose eyes only disdained me. I clutched my world, the bottle empty as the death inside me, empty as the resolve to return home. Thinking, I could go back but I don't know the way. I could go back but what would they say. But I know to stay there is to pass away with the thought that maybe one day they would find father the same, seated in a chair next to the window overlooking the road of my return.
John Russell Monagle resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He retired from a career at The Library of Congress. He graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, specializing in poetry. He has had numerous poems published, most recently in Sin Fronteras, High Plains Register, and the New Mexico Poet Laureate anthology of New Mexico poets for 2022.