A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I’m eating at the local Shell,
again, a hot dog, wrinkled
as an old hitchhiker’s thumb,
with a bag of chips and a lottery
ticket I can’t devour but would
if it meant not lunching at a gas station
on another winter’s day bleaching
out the wide sky and preparing
to dump more snow to trudge through.
The guy at the counter, nice
and surely sick of seeing me
every day in the same sweats,
t-shirt, and flip-flops that reveal
toe-nails in dire need of cutting,
so yellow they match the chips,
sighs hello and the high cost of
a diet no one should be allowed.
But, I’m so hungry for this once-a-
day meal, contact, that I don’t care
what I have to pay in dollars,
body-fat, dirty looks or pity,
future EKGs and tread-mill tests
I’ll need to shave half my chest for,
taking too much skin each dry swipe.
I just need to get back to bed,
to unwashed sheets that rival
snow ploughed back to sidewalks
dog-piss yellow and exhaust dirty,
to sheets that know more of shit
than any citywide clean-up scheme.
Copyright 2017 Billy Clem