Four gray gulls paddle about like ducks, the sky above the bay rapidly changing moods, darkening, then brightening, then darkening again, while I make my own path up the shoreline, careful despite a brain half-paralyzed from new meds to step around the conchs and horseshoe crabs stranded at low tide, too many for saving, a massacre, the water rushing away over the pebbly sand whispering to me, as though in consolation, shush, shush, shush.
Interview Questions for a Job Yet to Be Invented
Have you ever demanded, received, or paid a ransom? Seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe? Spent a night in the gorilla cage? Bought a human skull on Etsy? Shared an elevator with the eighteen smallest dwarfs in the city? Laughed so hard you dislocated your jaw? Asked Alexa the actual color of the Red Sea? (Intense turquoise.) Been bound and gagged and stuffed in a wheelie bin? Visited a parent in prison? Shrieked like a peacock or impersonated a disreputable poet with a pointy beard and long wool scarf? Dreamt you were dreaming? Put a smiley face at the end of a sentence? Hummed while performing cunnilingus?
At birth I was given a name I wouldn’t ever have chosen. The trick is not to care. I was still in school when my parents died within a year of each other to make more room for the future. And I remember people throwing their hats in the air in jubilation. What they thought was the light of dawn was instead the light of fires, the stench of burning eventually so bad I couldn’t breathe. Until then, I too wanted to bury everything that came before. Now I pass through crowds like a vague rumor. There’s only one story but a million ways to tell it.
Howie Good is a poet and collage artist on Cape Cod. His latest poetry books are Famous Long Ago (Laughing Ronin Press) and The Bad News First (Kung Fu Treachery Press).
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