Don’t Pretend I Own a Llama

Don’t Pretend I Own a Llama

by William Doreski

Twenty-six dollars for hair gel?
Look at my flyway hair—
do I use hair gel? You claim

I charged it. But your tiny shop
doesn’t extend credit to people
like me, and I always pay cash.

Your slinky little smile fails
to convict me. I owe nothing
but marriage, children, a mortgage

slightly larger than a stadium’s.
You’ve arranged your merchandise
to entrap me in narrow aisles

my bulk can’t safely negotiate.
Like a cruise ship run aground,
I stall between a wire rack hung

with foil bags of freeze-dried food
and a table laden with cashmere
bathrobes in enormous sizes.

I want to reach the shelves of clay
and plastic pots. My personal
catnip farm requires more effort:

the cats whine for lack of drugs.
They rotate their ears and roll
their agate eyes and regard me

as little better than prey. You claim
I arrived drunk and demanded
hair gel for my llama. You know

I don’t keep a llama in the field
behind my house. Only one
sad donkey braying for a mate.

No one gels a donkey, even drunk.
Don’t give me that fatuous smile,
your winsome little body clenched

like a grenade. Help me escape
this narrow aisle. Call the fire
brigade if you must; but don’t

pretend I own a llama,
and don’t laugh so loudly
at my flyway but honest hair.

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently Waiting for the Angel (Pygmy Forest Press, 2009)

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