pulling carpet


underneath here, there must be a wheat penny,

a reassurance from the roosevelt administration

things will be all right and people, here and to come,

will have had children with truck-spring backs,

joints strong as steel,

and minds like wells filled with sweet, cool water


so far, rows of shark-tooth carpet strips

with foot molding jaws bite before they come up,

and again later in ratcheted, skeleton piles

thrown onto the refuse out back—

tarantulas in the sun like bad memories


decades of skin dust, carpet glue, dog hair,

fingernails, a light bulb, a capsule–

in a lipless hole, on a dusty bed of insulation

a hospital bracelet: “Ronnell James Harlan, 4/10/98,

newborn, mother, Katrisha Lorene”


strings of weave trail across the floor

to rolls at one end of the room—

old times, old faces lifted,

new times to form the room into a thing

useful and needful of people who make it


before the boss comes, I look into dog-stain corners,

under the roof incline, behind the knotty pine,

into the attic at either side, where a wheat penny

might have rolled after slipping from a pocket,

dropping from a dresser, falling from a child’s hand


new pad, new carpet, new ideas;

a room that smells of the modern age

and under this carpet or the next,

a wartime, red-painted zinc lincoln,

say 1943, when times were tough

and people bought things with coupons

Published by

Patrick Dobson

Patrick Dobson was founded in 1962. He is a writer, scholar, ironworker, and poet who lives in Kansas City, MO. He is author of two books with the University of Nebraska Press, Seldom Seen: A Journey into the Great Plains (2009) and Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer (May 2015). Dobson is a work in progress until termination.

One thought on “pulling carpet”

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