Trilobite

from Sketches of a Modern Square

Stephen Dudas

Lately, these are trying times

for gentle Mr. Square.

So many unexpected things

brought suddenly to bear.

He tries to start his day off right:

a long, reflective shave.

But the mirror mutters omens

of a kind hirsute and grave.

He tries to go to different rooms,

but all the doors are round,

much smaller than a man his size,

and too high off the ground.

He tries to read the paper,

but the paper’s reading him.

Death and death and toilet fears,

an ad for getting slim.

He tries to phone his children

(Brenda, Bill, and Bing).

But, since they’re all imagined,

he just listens to the ring.

He tries to play a record

that he’s never heard before.

But his phonograph gave notice

at some point and left for war.

He tries to learn to waltz for one,

but how he slips and stumbles.

He's all the cheesy lack of grace

one finds in feta crumbles.

He tries to love his little home,

his little yard, and lane

until the place dissolves to mush

in the passing acid rain.

He tries to take a walk outside.

He tries to eat a meal.

The air, the clouds, the pond, the soup—

all starting to congeal.

He tries to take the edge off

with a pint down at the pub.

But the barman keeps repeating,

through a grimace, “here’s the rub.”

He tries to call on Trilobite,

his one remaining friend,

whom he does not wish to bother

with his troubles in the end.

Lately, these are trying times

for gentle Mr. Square.

If only he’d had sense enough

to, long ago, prepare.