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When a woman hits on you in a bookstore,

the world

comes together. Different

than supermarket browsing,

a lean & linger over a patch

of shriveling strawberries, the way

you took 10 minutes agonizing

over the freshest batch of kale

when your daily plate

is bread & potatoes. No,

these are conscious decisions,

mind taut & angular, a weapon

w/many edges. Not a dull cleaving

before the butcher’s counter—

this     is serious.

& after the third time

she walks by the poetry aisle

where you laugh aloud about

[insert cool name here] she

approaches, basket brimming

w/Hurston, Baldwin, Larsen,

& a book of computer coding

you would pretend to understand

on any blessed night. “I was the one

from the parking lot, the one

who smiled when you walked in,”

she says,  & you

are alert. Alive.

from dying in the scarecrow’s armsFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2018
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Mitchel L.H. Douglas Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.