by David Graham

Self-Portrait as Lucky Man

Because I pay my bills on time

and often smile when signing checks

my credit limit’s been raised again.

I’m looking better and better

these days in the bathroom mirrors

of interstate highway rest stops --

my pallor and road-dazzled eyes

lend me the cool intelligence

of actors in foreign movies

where no one completes a sentence.

And though I cannot find a job

I’m the kind of man you would think

should have no trouble. Yesterday

my car stalled at a traffic light

in time to avoid being hit

by an escaping felon’s truck.

Even when I lower my eyes

in pain or shyness I’m sure to glimpse

five-dollar bills in the gutter.

My wife is so kind I do not

deserve her, though she swears I do.

-from Second Wind. Texas Tech University Press, 1990.