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.