by David Galloway 

writers must come from dust &
hold at least seven odd jobs they can 
list in their biographies: worked as 
eel fishermen or lion tamers or oil
prospectors or yukon mushers or
mountain monks or anything that 
is undoubtedly work but captivating
in unusual detail before ascending 
to the right hand of literature.

none of this is me, do you know 
what is suburbia? the redlined-made
pale kind, families in vaulted-ceilinged
homes, two-story entranceways, three-car
garages that scream i have arrived, & 
their kids sell, snort, & shoot more 
drugs than the inner city ever did &
drink deep the ice-chest beers of 
their fathers while no one is looking.

i was a lifeguard, i sorted boring US govt
periodicals, i catalogued russian books on
agriculture, i taught kids how to canoe &
row & sail at a summer camp, flipped
burgers at a scout jamboree & valet parked
for a rich friend one night with my brother,
only we couldn’t drive stick for shit so when 
sent for the sporty volkswagen we had to push 
it up the hill to get out of the parking spot,

every time we put it in gear we inched 
closer to the next car until bumper to bumper 
we gave up & resorted to brute strength, 
it took so long we earned an odd look despite 
our claims there were a lot of cars & it’s pretty 
tight up there, & that’s the sum of my compelling
biography: no barroom shootouts, shark attacks,
multiple tours, surviving a tsunami, just a nonstory
about a car we couldn’t move & a tip we never got.

David Galloway is a writer and college professor of Russian. Born and raised in Maryland, for the past twenty-five years he has lived in upstate New York. He is the author of poyms for people (Kelsay Books, 2021), and his poetry and essays have most recently appeared in Rattle, Into the Void, Prairie Fire, and Permafrost.