Winter 2005-6

Stephen M Danos


En route to the neighborhood grocery store
I cross paths with creepers
and numerous oblivious. How difficult
is it to wait patiently at stop-lights? If in the Daytona 500
or racing-lane Olympia, creepers (those premature who
cross the white, starting line) would
be disqualified before gunshot.

Thanks, father, for my anal-retentiveness. You take pride
in my genetic inheritance and behavioral ticks. "Free will
now comes in pill form."

But when a woman on X or H strolls into the gas station
(that provides me steady pay) with cigarette lit,
blowing smoky germs onto packaged sour worms and beer nuts,
then has enough gusto to complain about our fine facility
not having ashtrays, I repress first response. The dark-skinned man

tattling to his digital rolodex
behind her utters 'bitch' once
she's out double-doors. Right before I think we're
on the same page, he whines about rising gas prices. I counter
from behind counter with the spiel boss man
told me to write with my tongue: "$3.19 per gallon is our buying price,
and we get shipments in every day." Then his face gnarls
and I understand the frontier of madness more clearly.

Stephen M. Danos is a fourth year English major at the University of Iowa. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, moved to Upper Montclair, New Jersey, and ended up in Naperville, Illinois, he has been published online in JMWW: A Quartetly Journal for Writing, earthwords and Content Magazine (the last two are undergraduate publications) and have poems forthcoming in Softblow. Currently he is one of three poetry editors for earthwords and one of 15 total students in the Undergraduate Poetry Writers Workshop (taught by Dean Young).



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