The Struggling Poet Interviews for a Desk Job

I am proficient in trees, not identifying
their names, but deepest needs,
a fish scale’s glimmer, soft paws, toe
beans, the tiny, invisible heartbeats
of mice, their
cries.

I’ve never been in a fistfight, but that’s
a lie. I’ve done it twice & both times
I got my ass beat—which was humbling.

My strengths? Hiding. Being alone.
I am quite good at crying
in the deergrass
near the edge of a road.

My biggest weakness
is my inability to sleep
because of the small black hole
beneath my pillow. It goes nowhere, trust me
I’ve checked, plenty.

Oh.
You think I’m not the right fit.
I see.

(pulls gift from pocket)

Well. Here. I wanted you to have this.
It’s a miniature grand piano I made
from clam shells, wasp wings.
I planned to play a little song
if I got the job,

but that’s okay.
I’m sure I’ll write a poem about this
anyway & that’s enough
for me.

Grant Chemidlin is a queer writer and poet living in Los Angeles. He is the author of two collections of poetry, He Felt Unwell (So He Wrote This) and Things We Lost In The Swamp. He’s been a finalist for the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award, the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, and is currently pursuing an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles. You can find more of his work on Instagram: @grantcpoetry.

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