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About this Poem 

“Originating in southern Europe in the 11th century, troubadours were composers and performers of lyric poetry. Although today ‘troubadour’ connotes ‘traveling minstrel,’ most of them traveled little and wrote for wealthy patrons. This poem ‘Troubadour’ was written for my father, who explored the world not by traversing it but by reading about it. At his death, he hadn't taken a trip of more than 100 miles for 30 years, and his book collection included more than 15,000 volumes of nonfiction.”

—Mark Yakich


Mark Yakich

When I was a boy and my fist
Would land into my father’s arm,

I’d cry out, and he’d say
Didn’t hurt me none.

He’s been dead six years now,
And my work is still to try

To beat myself up
And make the pain last.

Copyright @ 2014 by Mark Yakich. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 1, 2014.

Mark Yakich

Mark Yakich is the author of The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine (Penguin, 2008). He teaches at Loyola University New Orleans.

by this poet

And I am not a pedestal.

We are not a handful of harmless
scratches on pale pink canvas.
Today is not the day to stop

looking for the woman
to save you. What was once
ivory is wood. What was once

whalebone is cotton.
My coif and corset are duly
fastened, and your shirttail is

tied in a diamond knot. 
You may