3 Poems by Josh Sherman

Batteries 

My Tupperware™ container of used batteries 
is a constant source of anxiety 
I’ve been putting batteries in it 
because they aren’t supposed to go in the garbage,
but the container is almost full now

I think they can be dropped off at City Hall
or a school—some sort of institution,
an institution where they have the solutions 
to these kinds of problems
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to any institutions lately
I serve no institutional purpose;
I have no institutional knowledge

When the time comes, 
I’ll probably just dump the batteries in the garbage
Or maybe I’ll recycle them
Yeah
Putting batteries in the blue recycling bin 
almost seems eco-conscious
But if batteries don’t belong in either the garbage can 
or the recycling bin, 
is one choice better than the other? 
Is one decision less destructive?
There is something to be learned here of intent 

I guess I could try the composter— 
try composting the batteries for a million years
Maybe Green Peace would laud my dedication; 
an NGO committed to keeping batteries out of landfills 
would be founded in my name

Let’s be real, though
When I inevitably throw the batteries in the trash, 
They will meet their landfill fate
They will marinate in the soil; 
their acid will mix with Earth

But until then, I’ll feel good 
just having them right here 
in the Tupperware™ container on my table
It’s like I’m saving the world a little

Dendrology

Have you heard about the great bristlecone pine?
It’s the oldest living thing
It can grow to be, like, 5,000 years old
That’s what it felt like when I met her
Like something 5,000 years old
was suddenly alive

I said, “Describe his apartment for me”

I was a detective of depressing facts
You were a criminal of nothing
You told me you’d hooked up with him,
and I thought you were joking

I said, “Describe his apartment for me.”
And you said, “He has these shitty leather couches.”
That’s when I knew
you were telling the truth


“TRASH PANDA” by Josh Sherman

16289510384_95b18d9aff_o
I want to be a guy who goes bald
and tattoos stubble on his head
I want to be a girl with a bad thigh tattoo
but a pretty face
I want to be born into a family of astronauts
because failure would be reasonable
—if not inevitable

I want to be the dude behind the wheel
of a Dodge pickup truck 

with faux testicles
dangling from the bumper

who ran over a raccoon this evening
that had already been hit
as it tried to crawl onto the sidewalk
using its paws

which still functioned like paws (somehow)

and not care

Instead, I am in bed crying about a raccoon
and the way the wheels rolled over its torso

 

Josh Sherman is a Toronto-based journalist with fiction previously published in Hobart and poetry in Back Patio Press, Neutral Spaces Magazine, and Okay Donkey.

“3 More Poems” by Josh Sherman

space junk

(cover art by Julienne Bay)

 

SPACE ME LIKE LAIKA

When I think of what I’m most jealous of
I think of Russian space junk
Satellites shot into the atmosphere
Laika burning up or lost, careening
cosmic software in need of updates
That famous photo of earth taken from
6-billion kilometres away

Indifference like CAA auto insurance
Uselessness like a store dedicated
to fidget spinners at the Dufferin Mall

*title was stolen from a Tinder profile

 

AMERICAN THANKSGIVING 

“I’ll see if my bitch-ass family is available,”
says the man with the knuckle tattoos
before exiting the train
with his girlfriend

It was American Thanksgiving
not too long ago

Around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019

 

HUMIDITY

On my way home
they were rolling a corpse out
of the seniors’ facility;
I didn’t see the body, it was wrapped
in a thick, white cover
—it was such a humid night

Aug. 13, 2019, 12:55 a.m.

 

Josh Sherman has not been published in Granta. 

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