Robert Joe Stout

Single Parent


Recurrent dream:

I’m pinned to a tree

grabbing at things

that I need

but can’t reach,

the kids

calling “Dad! Help me

dad, please . . . !”

                             I groan,

half-awake: fourth quarter,

Warriors and Knicks

still tied, eight minutes

to play, kids

finally asleep . . . .

                              then remember

a part on the toilet

won’t work,

the girls need . . . what?

tennis shoes?

ballet skirt?

call the school

about grades,

bagworms in the elms,

out of bread . . .

                          out of luck,

hard enough when there’s two,

but here it's just me . . .

                                      In the dream

I’m back on an Army base:


uniform’s wrong,

haven’t bathed

haven’t shaved,

sarge’s spit

in my face

                 “All I can do!”

I shout myself

back to time-out

in the game:

                    Warriors ahead


but only by two . . .

                                Always a need

for school-party brownies,

rides to the pool,

makeup for plays.

I try to be cheerful,

help with their homework,

relax when day’s over

—sports channels

turned low—but awaken

to talk shows,

right hand asleep,

toilet flowing over,

no aspirin left

—and I never find out

the score.

Robert Joe Stout is a freelance journalist and currently resides in Oaxaca, Mexico. His essays, fiction and poetry appear in a wide variety of commercial and literary magazines.



Current Issue
Contributors' Notes

Email this poem Printer friendly page

A CLOSER LOOK: Michael Collier

Glen Armstrong

Jane Blue

Martha Christina

Douglas Clark

Michael Collins

Philip Dacey

Alixa Doom

Keith Dunlap

Renee Gherity

Claire Keyes on Barbara Crooker

Michael Lauchlan

Jenna Le

Saundra Rose Maley on Donald Berger

Laura Manuelidis

Judith McCombs

Seth Michelson on Alicia Partnoy

Joseph Mills

George Moore

Roger Pfingston

Oliver Rice

David Salner

Robert Joe Stout

Michele Wolf














Last Updated: Mar 10, 2021 - 2:35:35 PM

Copyright 2005 - 2021 Cook Communication.