Teenage Landlord

by Philip Schaefer

Yes, you are the king of your country, but the country

shimmers soft pewter, not gold. The confit feasts

must be microwaved, the moat must be plumbed.

Your breath smells like a C + w/a hint of soccer practice.

Let me teach you about mortgage w/my paycheck.

I would like to hold your hand w/a low interest rate

& explain deadlines to your goldendoodle while carrying

the goblet of its fecal steam through the industrial park

of tomorrow. You don’t know where your parents are

& I am sad all the time for everything else you will find out.

There is a key to the garage under the fake rock

by the water meter. It looks like a butterfly

tomb. Please learn the systems of your mutant economy.

We’d like to be able to drink tea in your plastic garden

watching the blood pink sun sink into our chests

for another 6 months, at least. Child, you must buy

a ladder, grass feed, my loyalty. You must dream bigger

than a figure with an extra zero. I am not here to ignore

your reality of least resistance. I will co-sign on the new kitchen

design. Thank you for choosing pine, porcelain, stainless

steel w/an icemaker. I will shovel the train of your robe.

I will bow low. Please, just remember to kiss someone else’s

toes. Someday you will be old & you will feel older.

Philip Schaefer’s collection Bad Summon (University of Utah Press, 2017) won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, while individual poems have won contests published by The PuritanMeridian, & Passages North. His work has been featured on Poem-A-Day, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and in The Poetry Society of America. He recently opened a modern Mexican restaurant called The Camino in Missoula, MT.