“I mostly enjoy life…”
I mostly enjoy life, even when pushing a shopping cart through the aisles. The shelves are usually bare. Other people’s carts are full. I see what I need in theirs. They see what they want in mine. A woman passes by, removes a can of salmon from my cart, and adds it to hers. When I try to take it back I grab a jar of jam instead by mistake. I don’t need jam. Don’t want it. I place the jam in an old man’s cart, and grab his bag of apples. But he snatches his apples back, returns my jam. Then he takes my milk. My butter. My eggs. I waited in line with an empty cart wondering how much it was all going to cost.
“I went back to school…”
I went back to school after many years, but the building was empty, abandoned. I asked a hundred-year-old rat for directions to my class. “No talking in the halls,” the rat replied. I wandered around, lost, rediscovering the past, studying the forgotten fingerprints left behind on a cloudy mirror. After my lessons I learned that most flies die in a spider’s web, but lots of spiders die there too. “Today is a hoax,” our history teacher said. “Yesterday is still happening.” He proved it by emptying one of his pockets, and he was right! It held yesterday’s crumbs, yesterday’s lint.
“On the way home from work…”
On the way home from work a businessperson asked a homeless person on the street corner if he was enjoying his new homeless position. “There’s still much for me to learn but the days go fast because I’m so busy,” the homeless person said. “Yes, well you’re entering the busy season,” the businessperson agreed. “That’s true.” “I’ve heard good things about you.” “Really? That’s nice to know.” The homeless person picked a twig from his hair. “I’m not surprised,” the businessperson said. “I always thought you’d be perfect for this, and people say I’m usually a good judge of character.” The sun went down. “Thank you.” The sky grew dark. “You’re welcome.”
Jason Heroux is the author of four books of poetry: Memoirs of an Alias (2004); Emergency Hallelujah (2008); Natural Capital (2012) and Hard Work Cheering Up Sad Machines (2016). His most recent book is the novel Amusement Park of Constant Sorrow (Mansfield Press, 2018). He is the current Poet Laureate for the City of Kingston, Ontario.