Michael VanCalbergh

The Kitchen Table Makes An Offering

I’m made from trees that survived
        hurricanes the size of poverty, so
use your fists; anger flows to my
        legs like spilled soda. I’ll siphon 

the rage of forms, give you slivers
        of my body to write your salary,
and splinters to sign in blood. Meals
        in paper bags won’t even leave a stain.

Drum an old country song and it’ll pop
        louder to match your shaking legs. Slam your
head and I’ll fight back, let you earn
        something today. Lay down on your arms and

my leaf will hide your tears. I’ll not
        hold you, I’m no couch. I’m hard and cold
and solid and here and yours. I
        won’t move a damn thing or ask you to stop.

I won’t bend. When you get tired,
        I’ll wait right here. I’ll wait for you.

Michael VanCalbergh currently lives and works in Normal, IL. When not playing tic-tac-toe with his daughter, he teaches at Illinois State University and organizes comics for a local comic book store. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming from, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tinderbox, Gingerbread House, Apex Magazine, and others. You can find him at @MVCpoet on Twitter.