You Never Get One Thing
This notebook is so old the paper is yellow.
I wonder where the tree grew.
Seems like you never get one thing without losing another.
There’s some sort of law about that
to do with finite resources.
But it’s hard to argue with whiskey.
It goes down your throat and feels good
and it tastes good in your mouth.
It makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
Somewhere some guys have figured out to the exact ounce
how much my life has cost the earth,
how many people have died that I might live.
Start with my parents, and theirs, and all who died
because of them. It’s like we drip in blood.
Who can wake up then tomorrow morning,
do the tasks set out before them
as if it was their work and their work only?
Who has the courage to look out to the east again
at someone else’s sun?
GREG KOSMICKI is a poet and social worker living in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied under the poet Greg Kuzma. He founded The Backwaters Press in 1997, which he now serves as Editor Emeritus. His poetry has been published in numerous magazines since 1975, both print and online, including Briar Cliff Review, Chiron Review, Cimarron Review, Connecticut Review, Cortland Review, Dacotah Territory, New Letters, Nimrod, Paris Review, Poetry East, Rattle, Smoking Poet, Paddlefish, and Windless Orchard. His poems have been anthologized many times, most recently in 2015 in A Sandhills Reader: Thirty years of great writing from the Great Plains, Stephen F. Austin State University Press. He received artist’s fellowships for his poetry from the Nebraska Arts Council 2000 and 2006. He is the author of four books and 8 chapbooks of poems. Two of the poems from his book from Word Press, Some Hero of the Past, and one poem from his chapbook from Pudding House Publications, New Route in the Dream, have been selected by Garrison Keillor and read by him on The Writer’s Almanac on Minnesota Public Radio. He has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. His newest book, Sheep can Recognize Individual Human Faces, was published in June of 2014 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. A new collection, It’s as Good Here as it gets Anywhere, is due out from Wayne State College (WSC) Press under the Logan House imprint, in spring of 2016. He and Debbie, his wife of 42 years, are the parents of three children, grandparents of one.