Paperboy

by Benjamin Aleshire

–For Harper, Wallingford, VT


I drug my canvas sack through snow, packed with words:
They
are super-predators who must be brought to heel. Technically I was a
contractor, buying these words whole-sale & selling them at a
profit, so the Rutland Herald could outsource the collection of
payment to a nine-year-old child: this was my introduction to
capitalism. Not the abstract ruthlessness of Monopoly boards,
but the direct cruelty of learning to knock on the doors of
customers who couldn’t pay at dinnertime, when they wouldn’t
be able to hide. The only people glad to see me were the dying
ones. At the old folks’ home, I mean. They’d invite me inside
apartments reeking of potpourri & ply me with butter-scotch
candy I sucked until there was nothing left to suck, round golden
disks shaped like the sun I watched rise in quietude each
morning as the happy town slept, the sun I never dreamed could
be blotted out by the ash of our world as it burns us away like a
fever, that headline none of us can bear the weight of:
Sun Blotted
Out by Ash of Our World as it Burns Us Away Like a Fever—

 

 


Benjamin Aleshire is a working-class DSA member whose poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in The Times UK, Boston Review, and Lit Hub. He travels the world as a poet-for-hire, composing poems for strangers in the street on a manual typewriter. Find him at poetforhire.org.