Approximately Two Inches Below A Crudely Rendered Pentagram by Ben Newell

“Why do we have two staplers
at the circ desk?”

“Who keeps
moving the hand sanitizer?”

“Is there a specific reason
this door is open?”

My boss bombards me with such inanities
on a daily basis,
as if I have the answer,
as if I give a shit.

Typical librarian in his obsession
with petty details
and moronic minutia
amounting to less than a frozen dog turd
in a forgotten alley.

He’s retiring at the end of the semester;
I feel sorry for his wife . . . .

Or maybe he’s an altogether different person at home,
sane and sensible,
perhaps this job brings out the worst in him,
perhaps I bring out the worst in him—

He certainly brings out the worst in me;
sitting here now,
engulfed in my stink,
writing his name
and number
on the stall wall.

Ben Newell 2

Ben Newell, 43, works as a library clerk at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi. His poems have appeared in The Blood Machine, Chiron Review, LUMMOX, Nerve Cowboy, Pink Litter, and other underground publications. He is a Bennington College dropout.


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