By Emily Beyer
Still groggy from last night’s feast, glasses raised and intertwined,
then the wish, the ruby clink, Simple Hans punches his timecard
at the mushroom cannery, inspects the caps tumbling down the chute
to their secret aluminum consortium, circumnavigation of grocery shelves
to the dark cupboard, forgotten. Now they twirl like cocktail parasols—
as if paradise were coming next, down the slide in a nicely sawed off coconut,
instead of another blast of dingy breath down Hans’ neck from the cooker.
The supervisor, smug, hands in his lab-coat pockets, strolls by
as if conducting an ethnographic study of pagans swinging around a May-pole.
Simple Hans gets a break in the loading dock, stares at the Douglas Firs
across the road, thinks of going into the woods with a couple pigs
to root around for something a little less white and blemished.
What does God think of swineherds? Simple—Hans with a chorus.
Time’s up. His herd multiplies without him in the forest.