Foaming beers on truck flanks
like x-rays of ribs painted on ribs.

You run. Run past the deli sausages
linked in the window. It seems

you’ve run into a 1940s film.
Sausages in black and white.

Soda jerks in patterned paper hats.
You don’t remember to take your car

battery inside and it freezes overnight.
You run to work, tie like a kite

string in the wind. Smoke loiters
along the ceiling in the open room.

Rows of desks, each with its own
phone. Papers, pencils, ashtray.

Pick up the phone and twirl a pencil.
Shop insurance to a willing listener

Doll, what you need
is a backup plan. What if the lettuce

runs out? You run to the director
and scream that this is a gas. Tear

out of the film and into the projector,
your body running light.
~ ~ ~

Matthew Schmidt is working on a PhD in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in 3:AM, Hobart, Poetry South, Territory, and elsewhere. He is an associate poetry editor at Fairy Tale Review.