If I had seen the sign,

“You must be ten feet tall

to ride this life,” I

would’ve waited for my

growth spurt, but I

didn’t, and the minder

let me board, so I’m trying

to hang on, feeling small;

I hope it doesn’t go upside…



Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


A rowdy adolescent

in a paler shade of orange

stretched out on the sofa

lets me rub his feet and belly,

then digs up the potted plants,

races in circles around the room,

swings from the mini-blinds,

jumps down, runs between my legs.

collides with who knows what,

sends books and boxes crashing,

baseball-slides under a chair–

you’ve met the cat who took me in:

Spenser by name, mischief his trade.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

No Shoes


Doing homework at the coffeehouse.

tall but stocky, dark blond hair,

in grey hoodie and navy tennis shorts,

bare legs, hairy-blond, no shoes;

well-built, sturdy legs, masculine feet.

Open textbook, pen and pad on table,

fiddling with his tablet underneath.

Looks a little tired, a little bored,

but getting on with it, doing the work.

Reminds me of the kid in Florida

who rode his bike twenty miles to school,

always barefoot, wrote to the president

to protest the college policy requiring shoes—

except that he was thin and slight,

delicate of voice, whereas when this one

speaks his voice is husky, a little hard

to understand because of vague enunciation.

And he slips into flip-flops to exit—

which is cheating, surely.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

Uneven Evolution?

He comes out of the house nearly naked,

wearing only his black draw-string shorts.

Not a body-builder, but he works out;

lean with muscles taut and six-pack abs;

has tattoos, but they’re not overdone.

Whether he’s handsome or not, I can’t say;

or rather I do, but it would be bad form,

and I don’t want to go sailing over handlebars.

But I can resist a glance back over my shoulder

and see him do a pull-up on a tree branch,

so it could be that worldly sophistication

is not the strongest suit that he’s been dealt.

But I’d have to play at least one round to know.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper