2 Poems by Josh Sherman

how to tell stories to children.jpeg

HOW TO TELL STORIES TO CHILDREN

How to Tell Stories to Children
was originally published in 1905
Sara Cone Bryant wrote it

She was an author of children’s books

Sometimes I think my life is being written
by an author
of children’s books
like Sara Cone Bryant

Things are oversimplified
dogs play a disproportionate role in the plot
there is whimsy that just seems sad
to normative adults 

Anyway, you were reading
How to Tell Stories to Children
on April 19, 2017, around 9:45 p.m.
while riding the streetcar

Your pants were pea-green and wide-legged
Your hair brown-like blonde
You were probably an art-school student
Your major, probably conceptual

You’d just sat beside me
because there was an empty seat
But maybe also because I was reading
But maybe not because I was reading

The streetcar driver was a comedian—he asked
“What kind of room has no windows or doors?”
And right away you replied:
a mushroom

It wasn’t rehearsed at all
Your brain just worked like that
Nobody else had answered or even tried
Then you went back to How to Tell Stories to Children

I continued reading Landscape With Traveler
A novella by Barry Gifford published in 1980
I wanted to get to know your brain

I wanted to be a streetcar operator
But you got off at Dovercourt

And I took the streetcar to Lansdowne

 

BODEGA

I feel like sad corner-store fruit
I’m a little bit expired
I’m a little bit bruised
I wasn’t always like this
but it’s how I am now
You’ll find me beside the Lays chips

and the gummies
You’ll find me under unflattering light
You’ll find me at unexpected hours

 


Josh Sherman is a Toronto-based journalist with fiction previously published online in Hobart and in print in the Great Lakes Review.

 

Art by Julienne Bay

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