Mark Wallace

from Nowhere To Be
for Dan Gutstein

“In three or four years you can dump
the load onto the next sucker,” said the toad
waiting in line for his turn at the pinnacle,
“The life of the mind is always a trade-off...”

Then he handed out instructions.
So I know why you write to say you can’t take it,
why people babble as if they’re afraid
that some goon looms behind them flexing to strike.

“Let’s debate inertia,” the toad went on,
“And how to move slower faster; that’s a joke
we learned in the lizard pool.” And then, not kidding,
he showed his teeth—the teeth of a toad!

So I get why you’re hiding out in the desert
where toads only sell homes or loiter in strip malls.

Mark Wallace is the author and editor of more than fifteen books and chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and essays. Most recently he has published a novel, The Quarry and The Lot, and a book of poems, Felonies of Illusion.

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