Empathy for the Rich

I try to find the universal in everything
but sometimes I worry about the wealthy.
Like the other night, high on rosé
on the rooftop terrace of rich acquaintances
with their very own sky
with its very own trees and wild grasses,
the Fernsehturm positioned so precisely
that during a midnight butterfly
stroke in the pool
they could never forget where they were.

As if to make herself more relatable the host said
I told my husband I’d only move here if he built
me a body of water in the sky.

Three years it took me to fix
the toilet in our windowless bathroom, three
years of explaining to guests how to squat in a
style specific to the seat’s needs,
but afterwards, when I was finally finished
prancing about with tools in my best impression
of a man who gets stuff done,
my wife said I’d become just a little bit more sexy.

So no, dear hosts, don’t feel disconnected. I’m
pretty sure it’s all one and the same thing—
your pool, our loo,
your private lift, the underground
train we took home
because neither of us could care less
about learning to drive.


Matthew McDonald is an Australian musician living in Berlin, Germany. He is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Open University. Matthew was shortlisted for the 2020 Dreich Pamphlet Competition. In 2021 Dreich will publish his first pamphlet.

Leave a Reply