The Orange Room Review

Accessible poetry of substance

Howdy from Ohio

by Timothy Gager

I know
in other parts of the country
that are not Boston
they don’t avert eyes,

they say things...
talk to strangers,
just as much as we don’t
do those things
not from fear
or from mom’s advice but, but rather
they might want
to talk back

Somewhere in Ohio
people have been poisoned,
maybe aliens have taken over
just west of Akron
and I am fearful
of walking down a busy street
when all I need is a sandwich

And there he is….
as if he has been sent down
to meet me…
plaid shirt
navy blue shorts
varicose veins
pretty unassuming
with his hand in his pocket, loaded, grinning,
I brace myself for contact

I hold my insides in...hard
There is no time for a sale
of my soul to a thrift shop–
without a return policy

The man breaks into a smile
which is fighting a duel with my wince
his hand can’t wait to spring up
like a jack-in-a-box
now we are ten feet from one another
it suddenly leaps out
in tandem with a startling, “Howdy”
and I manage a mumble, that goes unheard--
he is too far down the street

TIMOTHY GAGER has been published in print and on the web. He lives at