Straw Man


The straw man is made of straw
and newspapers and magazines
and everything he ever read
in books, or saw on television,
on billboards, on his computer screen. Lean him against a garden fence
and watch the pigeons shit all over him, listen to the crows laugh. At night,
he imagines himself a god
in the center of his own world,
as mice build nests in his heart,
as rats devour him from the inside out.
It’s not his fault. Like water, he takes
the shape of his container. Like dandelions, he blows with the wind. Have pity
on the straw man. For his birthday,
give him a box of matches,
gorgeously wrapped. For Christmas,
give him the gift of gasoline.


Straw Man

Photo used under CC.


About Author

Jose A. Alcantara is a father and math teacher who lives in Colorado. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The American Journal of Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Midwest Quarterly, Spoon River Poetry Review, Palimpsest, and 99 Poems for the 99%. He was a 2013 Fishtrap Fellow.

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