“Mr. Motes,” she said. “here’s a dollar bill and some change in this waste basket. You know where your waste basket is. How did you make that mistake?”
“It was left over, he said. “I didn’t need it.”
She dropped into his straight chair. “Do you throw it away every month?” she asked after a time.
“Only when it’s left over.”
(Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor)
The thought that someone might be indifferent to it steams us
like sitting next to a teetotaler at a bar when we’re tying one
on. How can you not want to plunge your head into the
champagne fountain then make yourself puke to clear space
for more? To avert is un-American. Your lack of attachment
grinds the assembly line to a halt, leaves dad slumped in his
recliner while mom pulls double shifts washing invalids. It’s
like having two hearts while those on the transplant list are dying
for one. Take your monkish indifference elsewhere, dig a den
with the foxes. The rest of us raise greyhound heads at dawn
and get running, lapping the track after the mechanical rabbit.
We prick ears to the silent whistle, salivate, and whine. I
wouldn’t want to be you—the only dog out of harness—while
the laden sleds skid on runners. You don’t pull, you don’t eat.
Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her political poems have appeared in The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat's Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.