Photography © Edward S. Gault

Three-Hanky Jesus

Comfortable is not a word I would use
for the chair in my chest.
I fill it like my Uncle Ed fills a La-Z-Boy,
absolutely and without remorse.
I’m staring at the street light of my own head,
the mayflies batting the lens,
and I think that means I’m living.
I want beauty to stain me like beer
in the shape of some sort of grace.
But here I am, unintentionally myself.
I keep changing the locks
because perfect souls are at the gate
and they look like water lilies,
move like jellyfish with fruit baskets.
They’ve welcomed me
to the neighbourhood for fifty years.
I don’t let them in because I’m afraid
they won’t like the wallpaper
and the faces I leave lying around.
I can’t blame the mess on the previous tenants.
I drink because it’s always 9 a.m.
somewhere in the world
and regret it because it’s midnight
everywhere else.
If I go outside in the afternoon
I usually get hit by lightning.
I’m not sure if this is deterrent or incentive.
So I’ve begun to wait for dusk,
when the sun can grab the day by the hem
and pull it off like a table cloth
and not knock me over.
Dusk is when people ask yes-or-no questions.
If you don’t hear my answer
I’m not ignoring you.
I can say yes in several languages
but my throat hurts too much
to do more than whisper.

Richard-Yves Sitoski is a songwriter, performance poet, and the 2019-2021 Poet Laureate of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. He is also the designated Artistic Director of the 2021 Words Aloud festival. He has released two books of verse, brownfields (Ginger Press, 2014) and Downmarket Oldies FM Station Blues (Ginger Press, 2018), and a CD of spoken word poetry, Word Salad (2017). His poems have appeared in many journals, including The Maynard and Barren Magazine, and as part of Brick Books’ Brickyard spoken word video series.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma. He has a wife Karen, and daughter.