Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Water First

Back in the day, the top page of the
little spiral notebook I keep
next to the microwave/toaster oven stack
on the composite-wood desk-cum-kitchen

utility table would come alive
when I plucked the plastic ballpoint next to it,
placed its ink-wet roller on the aforementioned
page and wrote a cruder expression for

toilet paper upon it, ordinarily hesitating
a heartbeat while my rational prowess wrestled
unsuccessfully with reflexive prudence which
invariably begged me to use the euphemistic

form or face possible unnamed retribution from
the humorless, nagging, persnickety, conditioned reflex
we know as that tiny haloed angel perched on our right
shoulder, finger raised in celestial admonishment.

Well, that priority is history, and we’ve come to regard
shit paper [yes, I hesitated] as a staple from days gone by,
with the promise, if luck be a lady, to strut back one day
in triumph with more prestige than it has ever known.

Meanwhile water has oozed to the top, rising
from second place to leave the pack—bread, onions,
mustard, bacon, hot dogs, et. al.--drifting along
with lesser urgencies among things for which

I am willing to venture into dire risk, homemade-masked
and armed
with 70% [the new standard] isopropyl-soaked Bounty towel
in pocketed Rubbermaid compact plastic-lidded holster,

from which my draw is sufficiently fast to execute
microscopic killers on surfaces I touch or might touch
or might wish to touch or that touch me. Why water,
I hear you thinking to ask?

Think funny tasting anything with tap water
were your palate as mysteriously persnickety as mine.
                                                                                                                                             m.d. paust

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