An intricate series of hoofprints
on the stale lithograph
we’ve come to call home
has bled insignificantly–
but not unnoticeably.
Yes, that’s correct. Hoofprints
have bled just enough
for this observer to comment.
Now, I’m aware that there are countless crackpots
who espouse the virtues of anti-vaxxers and birthers,
and this would be right up their alley.
However, I choose to take the high road.
A wise individual once told me
that the low road is the slipperiest,
because the maintenance people need to mop
more often than on the high one
(they have the kind of smelly chemical
floor cleaner that doesn’t dry as quickly
(and they’re always out of wet floor signs)).
We’re near the end of the road,
starvation apparent to all
(save the ones in real trouble,
the ones in rose-colored glasses
who watch sunsets
while our star of direct consequence
squirrel meat won’t quite cut it for me
after tasting nutria, the rodent
that eats more roughage per square inch
than I ever thought imaginable.
I taste the green in its diet,
the grassy notes popping on my palate
with just a hint of peppercorn.
As a younger man–though old enough to know better–I once navigated a rather cryptic epoch during which I chose (wholeheartedly or pigheadedly) to stick with my plague-rich mentality of promotional ice cream lotteries, confident in my god-given ability to strike it rich. With my trusty two and a quarter inch nail at my disposal, I scribed the five luckiest numbers ever known to man and beast in my favorite subterranean cave, positively declaring an end to the ceaseless turmoil of fumbling around in the cosmic muck for a few measly digits that–at one of my lower points–I thought would elude me as long as I were to inhabit this particular body. I then hastily chucked good ol’ Rusty (that’s what I called my long-suffering galvanized friend, knowing that his kind doesn’t rust for decades–a joke we shared on countless occasions) into the nearest ravine, a flourish that would–by all accounts (payable or otherwise)–bring this self-imposed trudge to a meaningful conclusion.
Boy, what a boneheaded mistake. No sooner than I’d comforted myself with that symbolic nail toss, a magpie hopped on by and casually reminded me that the most lucrative lottery drawings typically have six numbers. I wept, knowing that I’d severed the most rewarding relationship of a lifetime under the false pretense of a free scoop of rocky road at a participating Neddy’s® Frozen Custard.
I shaved and went back to my old CPA job.
What am I supposed to do with this armful of goddamn apple brown betties? I’m gonna have to toss them off the side of this overpass like I saw that fellow do yesterday. I can still see the stain left on the road from the impact of the beefier bits of crust. Upon witnessing such an atrocity, I told myself I’d never have to settle for the same outcome… ain’t life a bitch sometimes? One day you’re showering your spouse with serenades and streusels, and the next you’re choking down a pie-in-a-can you purchased out of sheer self-pity. They didn’t even have the strawberry flavor that you like, so you had to settle for heart of palm, a gruesome concoction you never even knew was in their product line, but dominated the shelf space at your corner bodega for god knows how long.