Kenneth Pobo


My grandmother said I’m not cheap,
I’m thrifty as if she were reading John 3:16
and we’d better listen. I wish

I had some of her gifts. I’ll never
bake bread the way she did.
Even flour-heavy loaves were delicious.

Sunday mornings Stan heaps coupons,
on the table, coupons we’ll never use.
I’m playing records
or deadheading a dahlia.

Just this morning I saw a soap bar
for sale at Pete’s Produce Market.
Five dollars!
I could’ve returned it. My grandmother
would have. Sometimes I’m cheap

with time. Mom would argue
with missionaries at our door.
I’d be checking my watch, dropping
theology in the waste basket,
shooing them off. In lines
I’m a skinflint, can’t stand waiting
to buy stamps or toilet paper.

My grandmother gave me her time,
much time, not cheap or thrifty there,
time that quickly disappeared.


Kenneth Pobo has a new book forthcoming from Blue Light Press called Bend Of Quiet. His work has appeared in: Weber: The Contemporary West, Nimrod, Mudfish, Indiana Review, and elsewhere.