All around this city, people are failing, falling,

and I’m one of them too. Today, in the parking lot

of the supermarket, I saw a guy running around

in circles with his stolen shopping cart, screaming.

And I thought: I’m no better than you.

I’m the same, and I’m this close to being you, homeless shopping cart guy.

And then, in the supermarket, there were copies of “People Magazine.”

Jennifer Garner on the cover, and the title,

Lessons I’ve Learned from Love and Life.”

And I was like: what have we done?

Who are we? I thought.

Such clichéd thoughts.


At the hotel in Reno,

the VACANCY sign outside flickers on and off.

Like a cliché.

I can’t afford this place, but there’s a pandemic happening.

Wandering downstairs, to buy more overpriced food and wine,

and there’s a sign, posted next to the stairs:

PLACE OF EGRESS.

Another cliché.

(The sign then explains where to run if

you need a place of safety. Whatever.)

I go outside in the dark to smoke a cigarette;

the hotel overlooks the river,

and on the other side, are the homeless men and women

living, in the freezing cold, in handmade shacks.

(And this…

Oliver Miller

I have an MFA in fiction, have written for lots of places, and don’t like writing bios. Reach me at oliveramiller@gmail.com

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