Eleventh Grade English (For Peter Doyle)

P.C. Scheponik has published four collections of poems: Psalms to Padre Pio (National Centre for Padre Pio, INC), A Storm by Any Other Name and Songs the Sea Has Sung in Me (PS Books, a division of Philadelphia Stories), and And the Sun Still Dared to Shine (Mazo Publishers). Most recently, his work has appeared in Adelaide Literary Journal, All the Sins, Westward Quarterly, and Pacifica Literary Review.


Eleventh Grade English (For Peter Doyle)

He told me I had to choose—be a preacher or a poet—I couldn’t be both.
So many years later his words wake up, a sleeping dog at the back door
of my mind, stretching, arching its back, then scratching to get out, or in—
barking if I don’t answer right away,
growling if I say, “Sit!” “Stay!”
Baring its teeth that gleam in the half-light of memory,
bright and sharp as biting truth that would still make me bleed after
all these years.
He, long in the sleeping earth, me, an old man more yawn than waking.
Still, that rebel student in me, the one more interested in breaking
the rules than obeying, part preacher, part poet, who loves the tasting
and the making of poems that try to do both.

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