The One About the Robbers

By Zachary Schomburg b. 1977 Zachary Schomburg
You tell me a joke about two robbers who hide from the police. One robber hides as a sack of cats and the other robber hides as a sack of potatoes. That is the punch line somehow, the sack of potatoes, but all I can think about is how my dad used to throw me over his shoulder when I was very small and call me his sack of potatoes. I’ve got a sack of potatoes he would yell, spinning around in a circle, the arm not holding me reaching out for a sale. Does anyone want to buy my sack of potatoes? No one ever wanted to buy me. We were always the only two people in the room.

NOTES: This poem originally appeared in "Poetry Not Written for Children that Children Might Nevertheless Enjoy," by Lemony Snicket.

“The One About the Robbers” is reprinted by permission of Black Ocean.

Source: Poetry (September 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2013


Poet and translator Zachary Schomburg was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Iowa. He earned a BA from the College of the Ozarks and a PhD in creative writing-poetry from the University of Nebraska. His books of poetry include The Man Suit (2007), Scary, No Scary (2009), and Fjords vol 1 (2012). He has said of his work, which is known for its absurd, tender humor, “Mostly I want my poems to generate their own energy through . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Home Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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