SELF ON A SHELF
Tom Hunley

The average cloud outweighs 100 elephants
and yet it floats, so I guess I can tithe and tip
well on my salary. Van Gogh managed
to paint Starry Night and Frank O'Hara managed
the MOMA while writing Lunch Poems so I should
be able to make time to take the trip to the gallery.
Before even waking up, I made time to wonder
whether God has a dog, and I let my mind wander
like a ghost all morning. I used to think I'd end up
played by John Cusack in the movie of my life
and then it was going to be Jason Bateman and then
Mark Wahlberg and if I don't accomplish something
soon I think it's going to be some low-budget lookalike
on The Hallmark Channel. I can't see in the dark
and I wonder if the dark sees through me.
And then I wonder what I meant by that.
Sees through me or sees through me?
Most days I feel as heavy as a cloud
that's tired of flipping gravity the bird.
Someone will ask if I've ever been to Buffalo.
Then a Buffalo-shaped ache roams around my heart.
But today I feel like the world's tallest elf. Like
I'm being played by Will Ferrell and so my life
is a lighthearted comedy despite the impression
conveyed by the trailer. I feel like the world's cracked
open like a fortune cookie and my fortune says go ahead
and walk in the rain, which is actually virga, which means
it's not touching the ground, not today, and neither am I.






Tom C. Hunley won the 2020 Rattle Chapbook prize for his manuscript, Adjusting To The Lights. He has poems forthcoming in The Penn Review, Gargoyle, and The Finger.



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