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By Pity Undeterred

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This old ugly contest of who’s on first,
whose prize. I feel ready for tit-and-bum
journalism, finally, ready to
invent new commonplaces, to allow
myself to imagine how it would feel
to believe what I report. But, wary,
I stick to reading. The invitation
writ on the wall of the restroom beckons:

“No strings of any sort.” Of course critics
know that the truly beautiful don’t need
to advertise. Unless making a show
of wanting is in now? I’ve always been
proud of how I earned this reputation
as an authority on wanting. Did
you earn yours? Did he, his? Did she, hers? Fight
not these incessant wars. Where shall we take

our long holiday? Nowhere near here, please,
where we’d be forced for consistency’s sake
to maledict the dead. Let us go far
to somewhere sunny and out of reach. Where
any old dead log might burst into leaf
and flourish like a fashion magazine.
Is that me? A dead log crying to be
made anew a god above all regret—

mired in the process, not nearly half-
baked. When you touch the pan I tremble like
a custard. I record the testament
of any old partially crushed dead log,
suited only to be supervisor
to paper wasps in their dry catacombs.
In the hotels I stay in, I dream of
knowing the people I hear in the hall.

Zachary Bos studied in the MFA program at Boston University. He was named runner-up in the 2023 Hearst Poetry Prize and has had recent writing Vroom!, Old Moon, and The Muse Journal. He directs the publishing activity of Pen & Anvil Press out of an office above Bonfire Bookshop in North Central Massachusetts.