“YOU PLAY OKAY” – “which end is this end” – “from up high”

YOU PLAY OKAY

Zolar zip zum go to the end of the block
and find find your way back
Go to the end of the block and stare up at the sun
Zolar zip zum
You made a game
In the game
You are good
You perform well

Go to the end of the block
We have confidence
We play together
If mother was alive
If father was alive
They would see how well we play
We stare up at the sky
We stare out at the ocean
The waves crash
Shing shosh sho

We walk together holding hands
Our heartbeats in sync!
We did the same
We mean the same
All of us together
Hum hum hum
We go
We walk to the end of the block
We look up

Today is no good
You lost the game
And I felt my breathing skip
The others noticed your distraction
And because I held your hand,
They shamed me badly

Don’t foul up daily or you will slowly slip away
Skinny skimpy zap dead
What else is there but the game

which end is this end

weird quiet
like just before the world ends and the music gets slow
7 wintery women with long blond hair at a breakfast table
“We’re all starving”

a fat lady at an empty intersection waiting for the traffic light opens her mouth at the same time a crow caws adjacent to a homeless man with long nails sitting in a wire chair before an obscenely large breakfast scraping his plate across the metal mesh table echoing the sound of the bird

gestures of repentance righteous with flags and placards like begging with hope at the feet of an indifferent and automated machine that will register requests, pleas, entreaties thoroughly (with consequential dysfunction)

schlemiel is resonant because schlemiel is the condition: why would we ever get it right

from up high

traffic swells and recedes
scream and hang from the trees

smintz, shmintz, Sarah Mintz is a recent graduate of the English M.A program at the University of Regina. Her creative writing thesis was concerned with Jewish identity and tradition mediated through popular culture. She released a poetry chapbook with JackPine Press in December 2020, and her debut collection of short short stories was launched by Radiant Press in May 2021.