He recognizes his arrogant bravado
is purely a self-defense mechanism;
he’s been spending way too much time alone.
Even those obnoxious Jehovah Witnesses
haven’t knocked on his castle door in decades.
The ancient coins bulging his pockets
won’t work in any vending machine.

It’s mostly an inconvenience until it turns
personal. He can feel his estrangement
among these pasty-faced rubes, and not just
those working at the blood bank. He spies
disgruntled villagers sharpening wood, how they
no longer bother to hide making the sign of the cross
whenever his carriage glides by.
The local teenagers toilet paper
his wrought-iron fence every Saturday night,
and now the cops are hassling him
about wolves shitting all over the neighborhood.

He knows it’s probably time to pack up his coffins
and move to Pennsylvania, unearth some new girls
who find his old world erudition and pick-up lines
charming instead of creepy, but he’s reluctant to leave—
where is he likely to find another dentist
who can keep his mouth shut anywhere else?


Tony Magistrale
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