Sawyer Lovett — “Real Good”

Little puppet made of pine. Awake,
the gift of life is thine

Let us put aside the fact
that I was born five minutes ago
and left in the hands of a sanctimonious cricket.
Let us ignore my lack of agency and
the absence of a user manual for this body.

Be a good boy.
And always let your conscience be your guide.

What of curiosity and adventure is lost
in pursuit of goodness?
And of all the codes writ in the name of good,
to whose should I subscribe?
The father who carved and painted me
with an ideal in mind I might never live up to?
(if life as a sentient puppet can be called living)
Stromboli? The Coachman?
Or Monstero, who knows only hunger?

No one asks for the life they’re given.
But I made mine from a pile of splinters
a sapling with sequoia dreams
raspy and knotted
but finally my own.

Sawyer Lovett is a writer who lives in Philadelphia with his wife, a dog, and a hedgehog. He’s a part-time bookseller and a full time MFA student who occasionally reviews books for Kirkus and Lambda Lit. He is the author of two books and his work has appeared in Apiary, Impossible Archetype, and Cleaver.