TEN SLOPPY HAIKU OF ORDINARY LIFE
Magazines in the doctor’s
Waiting room are never current.
I skim, anyway, the outdated.
What appears to be a deflated father unloads
Vacation gear from his trunk onto the highway’s
Soft shoulder so he can unbury his spare.
The cashier licks his fingers, un-crumples—
Holds the bills up to the light, counts—recounts—
Suspecting I am, like everyone, counterfeit.
The dissolving snow makes some boys
Giddy for baseball or playing outside without jackets;
Others melt with the snow.
Noisy woodpeckers at the birdfeeder
Bully sparrows & hog sunflower seeds.
Chipmunks hoard what spills onto the grass.
When I tried on my new suit for the seamstress, I boasted
My grandfather had been a tailor, hoping for a discount,
At least good service. She said nothing with pins in her mouth.
Under my inherited quilt,
I sweat with terror.
Blanket kicked off, I shiver.
I order lunch from my car into a speaker.
Some days I have no idea what I want.
Most days the window-kid doesn’t make a mistake.
Even though I don’t believe
In God, sometimes I make bargains
Or ask for small favors.
I reach as far back as possible in the supermarket
Cooler for the most recently stocked milk
& still squint to read the expiration date.
—from Rattle #82, Winter 2023
Bruce Cohen: “My favorite quote is from a Wislawa Zymborska poem that reads, ‘I prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems.’”