He persists despite the strangle
of his mind’s tombing—the purity
of potential crumbled to something
smaller than memory. Despite this, he manages
to walk to the drugstore.

Fifty-three. Pete Crumb. Nothing,
but praise for a master. Hunger shrinks
to the bloat of satisfaction. Ego scrambles
the bones. Pete Crumb: pile of life, shaped
by famelight’s mattering.

Old man. Pete Crumb. Drugstore.
The young man at the counter knows
nothing of the journals, nothing
of the prizes, nothing of the academia
which fawns over Pete Crumb.

A woman buying tampons.
She will never know of the immense
tumble, or the taint of talent
which isolates. Pete Crumb saw
in their scrawlings their lack,
and their envy. Pete Crumb. The other
poets used to hate him. Now, he’s just
like them. Pete Crumb.

Pills. For what? The young man
knows. Pete Crumb. Old man.

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