Thinking I see Philip Levine in the clearance section of a TJ Maxx, by Brett Haymaker

Thinking I see Philip Levine in the clearance section of a TJ Maxx

 

It was a jacket I was looking down at.

Actually, it was a picture of a snow-

 

covered mountainside with an incandescent blue

sky and three people overdressed in fur-lined hoods, with black

 

skis stuck into the fluffy ground, looking up

the steep grade they presumably just skied —

 

all of this was printed on the jacket’s tag with the jacket’s bar code,

its retail price of $79.99, and its mark down price of $20.00 in soy-based ink

 

I couldn’t swallow when I saw him two clothing racks away,

between two rows of marked down Made in China shoes,

 

wearing a fedora with a fake plastic feather

tucked into its felt brim, which made me think, nope, not him.

 

I hung the jacket where someone cold might find it

before I jammed my hand into my pocket

where I found and folded my money in half, and then in half again.

 

— Brett Haymaker

 

Brett Haymaker is currently a master’s candidate in Drew University’s low-residency M.F.A. in Poetry program. He was born and raised in Hellertown, Pa. He attended Drexel University.

Continue Reading