A Distressed Shopkeeper's Lament at a Shopping Mall
by John Howard Reid
I flitter, flitter, flitter with my watering can,
I dance a pixie’s pirouette on the boss’s plan,
I prognosticate and meditate like a caliph’s seer,
I sprinkle iodine and pepper in the salesmen’s beer.
A man of many dreams am I, robot rich,
A noun without a pronoun, a base ball in a ditch,
A toppy-teller of pigtails, millet broom without a stitch,
A numismatist who misremembers—Which centavo is which?
Heaven knows who’ll help me! I need a Toad in my dish.
I want to wiggle these elbows, put dimples in my clothes,
Have feasts on ice floes, count twenty-seven on my toes,
Pop-pop coddled poppies, grant all golliwogs their wish.
Must there be a reason to sing and prance?
Is it not enough that tenants practice dance?
If there has to be a reason my teeth shine white,
Can it be my mouth will see to eat lentils at night?
Pity me, partners, mad as a hatter,
A milliner with naught to mill,
Psychiatrist with psyche still,
A sycophant lost his sickle.
But what does it matter?