Jay Nebel
Trouble Poem

Every time the phone rings 

I think I'm in trouble.

I'm in the stolen Honda again.

I'm out in the park scratching

my name into the picnic table with a pocket knife

while my classmates get their diplomas. 

I'm falling backwards through the fog, 

pulled into it chin over finger

over ribs over tongue, pried from the door jamb, 

dragged through the living room

and the kitchen into the boulevard of trouble.

It's my mother calling. It's the prinicpal.

It's the cops shining their heavy

flashlights through the windows of my mistakes. 

I want to say that I never run, 

that when trouble finds me I reach for the phone

like a man who wants to stare his behavior

in the face. I pull on my goggles

and climb on my army green Triumph

and accelerate into that cloud of spears and torches

on the horizon, the dust covering my lips

and filling my hair, the wind roaring over my knuckles. 

Found In Volume 44, No. 04
Read Issue
  • nebel jay
Jay Nebel
About the Author

Jay Nebel's first book, Neighbors, won the Saturnalia Poetry Prize, selected by Gerald Stern.  He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and their two children and delivers juice for a living.