I've worked as apprentice of sorts
to the wino in the park
for years. I keep an eye on his bottle of port
when he leaves it to piss in the pachysandra.
My predecessor struck out on his own
for the park across town
where he finally drowned in his own self pity.
So much for ambition.
Once, when I spoke of quitting, my employer
wept. He kissed me and praised
my perfect attendance. He offered to serve
as a reference.
The problem was his job title: the drunk.
And his address: the drunk in the park.
The drunk in the park is in.
What are the prospects
for someone bearing such a reference?
Where is the prospective employer
who would take it for what it's worth?
So I don't quit. I stay on. I'm too
specialized. And too loyal.
Paul Hostovsky's poems appear widely online
and in print and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily,
and The Writer’s Almanac. He has two poetry chapbooks, Bird in the Hand (Grayson Books, 2006)
and Dusk Outside
the Braille Press (Riverstone Press,
2006). He works in