You’re lost. The gunmen don’t speak English. You forgot you had a test and you’re naked and it’s a shop test and you crush something vital in the drill press. You make a scene at a dinner party. You drop a dime off the Washington Monument and it kills the First Lady. You drop a dime on the President and wind up in a windowless room in Langley. Your ears fall off. Your toes turn black. Your stomach rejects cheese. You’re a city of tiny monsters, waiting to be fed. You get mustard on your guayabera and your drycleaner won’t even look at you. Your gray hairs start a Facebook group. Your best friend is perfect and you have to kill her in a fit of tragic rage. It’s not worthy of Shakespeare. It’s petty. Your sleeves are too short. A beggar startles you from your superhero reverie and you’re too cross to part with a quarter. You cheat on your taxes. You vote Republican without even believing in it. You drink to forget. You forget to drink and die of dehydration. Your teeth are crooked. Your kids are dirty hippies. The dog growls at you. At night, the wolves come. It’s raining. No one likes you. You’re alone. Your teeth are still crooked. Your only friend is a cactus. You’re afraid. You’re afraid. You love your wife and eat well and greet the sunshiny morning with vigor and you’re afraid.

Maureen Thorson lives in Washington DC, where she co-curates the In Your Ear reading series at the DC Arts Center. Her first book, Applies to Oranges, is just out from Ugly Duckling Presse. She is also the author of several chapbooks, including Mayport, winner of the 2006 National Chapbook Fellowship from the Poetry Society of America.

"Ode to Joy" by Linda Plaisted

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