King (a poem by Matthew Dickman)

I’m always the king of something. Ruined or celebrated,

newly crowned, or just beheaded. King of the shady grass

and king of the dirty sheets. I sit in the middle

of the room in December

with the windows open, five pills, and a razor. My life long

secret. My killing power and my staying

power. When the erection fails, when the car almost hits

the divider, I’m king. I wave my hand over

the ants bubbling out of the sidewalk and make them all knights,

I sit at the dinner table and look into the deep

dark eyes of my television, my people. I tell them the kingdom

will be remembered in dreams of gold. I tell them

what was lost will be found. So I put on my black-white

checkered Vans, the exact pair of shoes

my older brother wore when he was still a citizen in the world,

and I go out, I go out into the street

with my map of the dead and look for him,

for the X he is,

so I can put the scepter back in his hands, take the red

cloak from my shoulders and put it around his, lift the crown

from my head and fit it just above his eyebrows,

so I can get down on one knee, on both

knees, and lower my face and whisper my lord, my master, my king.


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