Would you go to the gym? Would you get the cheap $10-a-
month contract from the pale albino man in uniformed
purple shirt? Then walk around while stiff necked
men fortress themselves at the machines you want?
Would you get lost at Ikea? Would you admire the
Swedish ingenuity of a $70 coffee table’s self-locking
joints and the soft-yellow light of the paper lamps? Would
you sit on the futons of fake apartments and imagine a family?
After a long day of teaching—you and I know that teaching
makes days long—would you dream of being in your father’s
garage at dusk with sawdust misting your ankles? Wishing for the
soft feel of wood bending under a 180 grit sander, or a hammer’s
stiff bounce and ring against your palm?
Would you go to the movies, or the mall, or to Barnes and Noble
and use your educator’s discount on a macchiato?
Would you dance with your wife at 1 am? Say together, sorry
neighbors, when your heels hit the floor a little too hard?
Would you write poems about God? About your parents’ divorce?
Would you compare your wife’s body to a playground or a puddle?
Would you buy an electronic typewriter for the clacking of its
keys and the cooing noise the machine makes when you pull the
paper out with the tips of your fingers?
Would you use dandruff shampoo every now and then? Would
you sport a soft beard or wear your human face clean shaven? Would
you shop at Zara’s at the Grove because their price of slim-sized
button-up shirts seem the most fair?
Would you wear a fitness tracker and get anxious about the amount
of deep sleep your body is getting on average?
Would you read the news? Would you tape up those pictures of
smoke and rubble and blood on the walls of your mind?
Would you wait anxiously at church for when they ask you to talk
to other people for two specific minutes? Would you worry about
the smell of your breath? Would you lean in your ear to hear them
at the same time they lean in to hear you?
Would you be pitifully bad at slapping another man’s hand in
Would you sometimes stare at the inside of your fingers and wonder
about the weirdness of a body? Would you imagine holes in your
palms? Imagine seeing the gray steering wheel through the flesh?
Or our wife’s stomach flat and brown and soft?
Would you dream of owning a house and having four kids in
Culver City? Would you adopt a dog from the pound and name him Elijah?
Joshua Roark currently lives with his beautiful, amazing, fellow writer wife in Los Angeles, working as a homeschool teacher for young kids while pursuing an MFA from Antioch University (2017). He also works as an associate editor and web manager for Antioch’s literary magazine, Lunch Ticket. His poetry has been published in San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Killer Whale Journal, 3 Elements Review, among others.