I often send myself roses,
have them delivered to the office with a flourish
so the women in surrounding cubicles
will coo and gather, pigeon-toed,
and here I am, the best piece of bread.
I like red wines and white cheese.
I am soft and crumble easy.
In theaters I watch
the audience cry.
Suddenly I don’t feel so alone.
Then I cry too, my face a mess of tears and snot.
There’s something mystical
about the experience. Some mass carnival
of grief, all these sniveling clusters, catharsis
on a cathedral level.
Are you a man of faith?
Let’s watch God on the big screen
as if He were the ringmaster
pulling our souls out
like clowns from a small car.
You can pay for the popcorn
and hold my buttery hand
while we watch
each devilish face
hard like a kernel
pop with the saddest rapture.


⊡ ⊡ ⊡

Michael Schmeltzer earned his MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop. His honors include numerous Pushcart Prize nominations, the Gulf Stream Award for Poetry, and the Blue Earth Review Flash Fiction Prize. He runs amok on staff at A River & Sound Review and his work can be found in Rattle, [PANK], Vinyl, and Mid-American Review, among others. You can find him on Twitter at @mschmeltzer01.