the wax paper

Joseph Reich

LES

hey what’s the point

of obituaries anyway?

i mean why not just leave

everything exactly as is?

the exact same things

the exact same scenes

the exact same situations

the exact same self-pity

and do not move a thing

the exact same drinking

of black licorice tea at 4

the exact same way

the sun goes down

over broken down

train yards at dusk

with the same strange

silhouette of the skyline

in the distance the lining

up of lonely toll booths

and bridges the ancient

synagogues and churches

not sure which is which

spitting out the same old

ethics and hieroglyphics

like some old stray dog tying

up his blind master to the corner

waddling home brokenhearted

soulful like chaplin under the

checkered piano key shadows

of the el at the change of seasons

the aftermath and craziness

and carnage of schoolyards

what’s really the difference

not even sure anymore and

if that would even matter

if it’s still queens or manhattan

the drag queens getting ready

like some poor pathetic widow

going through the exact same

routines and rituals at her

dressing mirror getting ready

for the hasidim living whole

other holy 2nd 3rd 4th lives

like having slipped out back

doors of vaudeville leaving

a first love lost hostile wife

a daughter to die for who

doesn’t visit anymore

and an accountant son

he claims he can’t count on

i mean why even go through

the motions of those day to day

descriptions of traits and characteristics

and so-called personalities you want to

persuade them to have them believe in

always located in the very way end

after all the shocker and horror

of the local and international news

and funnies and sports and weather

so do not move a thing out of place

we’re all just these really lonely

solitary ridiculous freaks looking

to be saved and no longer shamed

for that one simple moment of grace

leaves an end unit railroad apartment

decent chinese around the corner

a simple stroll to the park

leftover kafilte fish and

borscht and rugalech

in the refrigerator…

Joseph Reich is a social worker who lives with his wife and twelve year old son in the high-up mountains of

Vermont. He has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals both here and abroad, and nominated

six times for The Pushcart Prize.