"Modern Deadbeat" by Kevin Ridgeway

i am smoking a filterless 

camel cigarette this morning 

and remember the pack 

my father left behind 

in the drawer of his dresser 

after he went to prison, 

and my mother kept 

all of his by-then vintage 

clothes neatly folded 

in the other drawers 

for years.


my clothes were neatly folded 

when i discovered them in my 

uncle's backyard shed after they

released me from my first stint 

in county jail, delivered there 

by my new ex-girlfriend,


and i smoked a filterless 

camel cigarette and played 

with my uncle's dogs, who 

didn't judge me for what I'd done.