Thursday, January 26, 2017

Topper by David Gross

I called him “Top Cat”
like the cartoon character, 
he liked it.
We were restoring 
Altgeld Hall 
at the university.
Drinking was his passion
and coupled with a 
finely honed black humor 
everything he said 
came out Shakespearian. 
Born in Liverpool
to an unknown mother, 
his father raised him. 
Gorged with ghosts from 
a childhood zig-zagging 
Europe, working circuses 
with his old man. 
Never said what they did.
One Monday he didn’t show,
no one thought much about it,
but by morning break 
someone tied the name 
nobody knew in the headlines 
to the “drunk little hippie”
that worked with us, 
who laid down 
on a railroad track
and fell asleep.

David Gross is the author of four chapbooks, Cup of Moon (Bull Thistle Press, 2000), What We Never Had (tel-let, 2004), Because It Is (tel-let 2005), and Pilgrimage (Finishing Line Press, 2009). His poems and essays have appeared in journals such as Big Muddy, Blue Collar Review, Cape Rock, Common Ground Review, Hummingbird, Kentucky Review, Modern Haiku, Naugatuck River Review and Snowy Egret. He lives with his wife on a small farm in the hills of southern Illinois.

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