When I inherit the bookshop
you’re so overwrought with joy
that even though you’re wearing
your alligator suit you plant
on me the kiss I’ve dreaded
for most of my sentient life.
It tastes like the Everglades,
bottomless, rank with pollution,
and gnarls a sore spot on my lip.
Snug in that hideous getup,
you sprawl on a sandbank and cadge
snacks from tourists who believe
they’re in Florida where such
impostures are politically sound.
The morning light exposes
the depth of the bookstore’s debt.
I can’t pay it off unless you beg
the bank for a loan. They don’t lend
to people in alligator suits,
so you’d better wear that black dress
with your genuine stolen pearls.
Yes, I admit that the alligator
suit is more fetching, but
that kiss almost beheaded me.
I’ve known you for fifty years
and you never kissed me until
you donned that tough green costume
and assumed the reptile mind.
The bookstore features the slowest
selling books in sad old bindings.
Philosophy, art history, chess,
poetry, economics, golf.
No one ever shops here unless
too drunk to know where they are.
I’d better get drunk myself.
Please don’t ever kiss me again
with those plastic alligator teeth.
And if you must visit the bookshop
while wearing that silly outfit
please scrape the mud off your claws
and don’t leave the sort of tracks
poachers with shotguns follow.
William Doreski lives in the woods of Peterborough, New Hampshire, and enjoys watching the deer eat his garden. He also writes some poems and sometimes publishes them.