Ace Boggess

Poems While You Wait

We three,
underpaid & overwhelmed,
hearts fully visible
like glue-on nametags,
sit behind museum typewriters
smashing the keys
which stick & miss &
clack like trapped seamen
hammering S.O.S.
inside a bottomed submarine.

One takes requests
for wedding poems,
slushy, relished gems;
for the other: tax code &
basic training—
to each guest, what has value.
I get a cat
named after a candy bar,
a father’s love for his daughter,
a daughter’s love
for figure skating, &
the words dating cousins,
meant as a joke, I think,
but maybe not.

We play our parts:
serious, sincere, &
sarcastic—best qualities
improv poets can have,
along with patience
to enter an idea
like a labyrinth &
cleverness to find our way
back out without
getting lost

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road, 2021). His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Harvard Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.

Next poem

Previous poem

Fall 2021