Tell Me I Can’t Say That

My advanced placement was bourbon

poured in a cough syrup bottle

I kept in my locker – amber in amber.


He said it first – spooktacular.

How spooky life became

as big men were shot down.

Conjugate a six ounce verb.


Conjugate this: our troubles come in tribes.


I expected it but she never threw up her arms

and cried, “Go, sell his bones.”


I crossed the dark floor stumbling

among the dead men.

The siege plowed through

seasons’ storehouses; engines

burned and rebuilt; a land seasoned with salt

sang dry-throated, a little cough, a chime.


I crisscrossed that darkened

room – always a night sea journey.

She gave me her hope which I gambled away,

gave me succor,

her delicate collarbone and thoroughbred ankles

to be bartered.



David P. Kozinski won the Delaware Literary Connection’s 2015 spring poetry contest. He received the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes. Publications include Apiary, Cheat River Review, Fox Chase Review,, and Schuylkill Valley Journal. He has read at numerous venues in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.