"Life" said the magician

It all begins when I'm pronounced dead. The gray granite
of a mausoleum arrives wearing a fake black mustache
as thin as licorice.

I've always hated licorice. But I liked my forth grade science class. Everyone was allowed to plant beans in the brown soil of shoe boxes. Mine spouted pale green then suddenly went limp overnight. Our teacher said this was an example of how the "reproductive mechanism" worked. She liked black coffee. She wore floral dresses and had a mustache too, which she would shave off on weekends.

In summer my dad bought bags of ice that would all melt.
The rest of the year my mom would give me subway tokens which would hop out of my hand and roll right into the gutter especially on the way to school.

I used to wish I were the Jolly Green Giant. Then I'd be fitted for a fancy custom while the makeup man sat in the shadows sipping his gin. I've always found dirt under fingernails to be attractive. I think it's better to give dogs human names. A flood or a swamp. A ditch or gully. The amazing things builders can do with vacant lots...


words: Maurice Oliver, Oregon (Concelebratory Shoehorn Review)
photo: Dorothy Gantenbein, California (Dorothy Photo)

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