Aleathia Drehmer

Track Three: His Eyes Raised to Heaven

As the oldest son, my father
felt the wrath of his drunken
father’s fists. He was a stand-in
for the younger boys and his mother.

His life was full of holy dreams,
a bible in his hand with eyes raised
to heaven, to the place that would lead him
from abuse into the arms of the church.

Instead, at 17, he took a walk
into the jungle, gun strapped
to his back, learning to be a man
in a war that had no solid meaning.

He lost God there.
Lost him a hail of bullets that ended
the lives of children and men
who he knew nothing about
but swore to his country, to kill.

He came home a ghost,
filled with rage and disappointment.
Setting out to walk mountains
and paddle rivers, smoked peyote with shamans,
saw the land, and knew it was the only God he’d ever find.

All these years later, after he is gone,
I stand naked in the bathroom reading lines
of this genetic trauma and listen to the light trill
of evening birds and scattered crickets
through the open window.

Here, we are redeemed together.
Father and daughter and spirit
less holy than we’d expected,
still fighting wars we never waged.


Track Twelve: The Trouble with Demons

The trouble with demons
is I never know which corners
they lurk around, or how I’ll address them
with my tongue tied around my teeth.

Or when they grip my ankles so tight
that I fall flat on my face, the pavement
rearranging my features into something unholy.

Or if it is the cold breeze
sliding in my ear like a plague,
building novels from all the bitter words
I’ve ever heard spoken after my name.

Or if it’s that taste I can’t get
off my tongue like a gifted poison apple
I fed myself out of spite.

Or if the silence behind my eyes
just waits to stone me
with my own reflection, me,
a self-made Medusa.

The trouble with demons
is how easily they tempt me
into winning the fight
against being loved.


Track Seventeen: Maddog 20/20

I listen to poets reading on zoom
and someone says it’s the new normal.
I can’t help but feel sad remembering
the Beat poets fest in Hartford,
or the merging of coasts in Kansas City,
or too many beers in Cambridge.
Each room was full of wild minds
and hard fought nights.

Tonight, I revisit the river of words
I swam in a lifetime ago,
though it was really just a decade,
and smile at how free these people are,
how much they draw the world
into themselves and spit it back out
like well-crafted masterpieces.

Most days I can only find smooth rocks
and wanton feathers left by blue jays
or forlorn crows, tops of acorns, dried worms,
and the way the fog strangles the hills
behind the river like a handsome serial killer.

Their poems feel like entangled lovers
who don’t know when to stop drinking,
like all the cool people I’ve never belonged to,
like every failed love poem I’ve ever heard.

But I have the river, with its cold dark water
waiting to pull time from beneath my feet
and give it all away to the next person
willing to drown in its shallows.


Aleathia Drehmer was once the editor of Durable Goods and In Between Altered States, but now spends most of her time writing novels. She has recently published poems in Spillwords, Piker Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Cajun Mutt Press. Aleathia has upcoming work in M 58 Poetry. Her first full-length collection Looking for Wild Things (Impspired) is due out later this year.

4 Responses to “Aleathia Drehmer”

  1. […] “The Trouble with Demons,” and “Maddog 20/20” have found a home at Rusty Truck. Please stop by and have a look as well as sift through the archives. There are some hard hitting […]

  2. Pris Campbell Says:

    Three fantastic poems!

  3. Carter Monroe Says:

    Stellar pieces here!

  4. Thank you Pris and Carter! Hope you are both well.

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