Dennis Caswell is the author of the poetry collection Phlogiston (Floating Bridge Press, 2012). His work has appeared in Bluestem, Crab Creek Review, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, and assorted other journals and anthologies. He lives outside Woodinville, Washington, and works as a software engineer in the aviation industry. His favorite superstition is astrological horoscopes, of the sort once found in daily newspapers. It’s reassuring to know that on any given day there are only twelve possible fates.
I’m full of squiggles. They’re squiggling right now!
Writhing all over each other in their cheesy muck,
touching each other’s privates. They can’t help it!
They’re all packed in and heaped up like a dump truck
of floppy beasts. If you get too close, they’ll bite,
but it’s all right, they’re toothless. It’s like being gummed
by a baby, or by some insane old man
who thinks he’s a beast.
If this is the service economy, where’s the service?
Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting?
All they ever do is change the song, as if
every time they play a new song, my waiting
starts over. Once in a very great while,
someone will come on the line and say,
“Thank you for waiting. I’ll transfer you now,”
and they switch to a different genre of music,
which is at least a little bit interesting.