Pizza Shop
by Nick Rattner

  1. Most of this poem lives as paperwork
  2. in an IRS warehouse just outside Duluth,
  3. but I imagine it is also the actual
  4. soreness which spoke first of adulthood,
  5. standing night after night on Linoleum
  6. in front of a wide oven. A paper calendar
  7. hangs from hooks on stainless-steel walls
  8. of a kitchen through which I carry factory-
  9. fresh sleeves of peperoni and gallon cans
  10. of mushrooms. Yes, this is the dream:
  11. a pizza to deliver, a Cutlass, and the state
  12. pulling sky and snow into its mouth
  13. with storm drains. Maybe it means
  14. more than a dozen drunk college kids
  15. beckoning me into the borderless county
  16. of their casual disregard, into the simple
  17. and somehow honorable humiliation
  18. of a life shaped by others’ hunger,
  19. and there is $4.25/hr. of a chance
  20. that on inconsequential winter nights,
  21. on poorly paved roads from houses
  22. to the shop, snow and pebbles
  23. my tires spray are shrapnel, blinding
  24. the local gods who have never once
  25. bothered with my name.
Packingtown Review – Vol.15, Spring 2021

Nick Rattner is Editor of Gulf Coast. New poems and translations can be found in Asymptote, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Denver Quarterly, Salt Hill, and Grist. At present, he is translating the work of Spanish poet Juan Andrés García Román.

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