Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

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Floyd Skloot

The Evening Meal

Brooklyn, 1954

My butcher father brought home a smell
of fowl that no amount of Old Spice,
Lava soap, or cigar smoke could disguise.
Some nights his raspy skin was flecked
with blood, or chicken feathers stuck to the back
of his neck were set aflutter when the door
closed behind him. Though he washed before
dinner, the market was with us as he sat
at the table, knife in hand. I watched his face
flicker through vapors from the dinner platter,
heard breath pass the bones of his broken nose,
and waited. There might be a sigh, lowered brows,
a smile, and then the smell would not matter
anymore, might even vanish without a trace.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 84, No. 2 (Summer 2010), p. 60

Floyd Skloot
Photo Credit: Beverly Hallberg

Floyd Skloot’s most recent books are the poetry collection The Snow’s Music (LSU P), the memoir The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer’s Life (U of Nebraska Press), and the short story collection Cream of Kohlrabi (Tupelo P). He lives in Portland, OR.

His past jobs include butcher's apprentice, grocery produce clerk, laborer for a landscape gardener, parking attendant, busboy/waiter, bill collector, and public policy analyst.