The popsicle stick on the sidewalk
was dropped carelessly like advice
to the grieving. Today was unusually warm—
seventy degrees in April. It felt like
an inappropriate gift from a rich oil tycoon,
a diamond ring just to get in my pants.
Maybe someone was so excited about the heat
they ate the popsicle with absolute
abandon, red tongue accosting pedestrians
as if it belonged to a vampire who figured out
a way to defeat the sun. Now the popsicle stick
is swarming with ants, there must be
some sugar soaked into the wood.
Their hard work looks disgusting as if
tenacity is nothing more than a festering sore
and success can only be achieved through
the carelessness of something greater.
I just got a bill, my twenty-year-old car
needs $2500 in repairs. On the news,
all the petty statesmen are being rolled up
with the lint. Nearby, the wind lifts
some flowers in a bush of snowbrush
and it looks like a happy girl in a sweatshirt
lifting her hood. The kind of beauty
no one can achieve but everyone remembers.
About the Poet
Benjamin Schmitt is the author of three books, most recently Soundtrack to a Fleeting Masculinity. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Antioch Review, The Good Men Project, Hobart, Worcester Review, Columbia Review, and elsewhere. A co-founder of Pacifica Writers’ Workshop, he has also written articles for The Seattle Times and At The Inkwell. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children.
For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.