census guy

the census guy
is at the door again

he wants to know why
i haven’t filled out my census form

it’s the law, he says

he’s concerned that i’ll lose
representation in congress

and the potholes in the sidewalk
won’t get fixed

he says, it’ll only take me a minute
as if i have any time to spare

i shake my head
tell him that i already filled it out online
but you guys keep showing up at my door
keep mailing me new census forms

don’t you know what you’re doing
down at the census office? i ask

the census guy
says maybe things got crossed
whatever that means

i feel for the census guy

he has come to my door
at a bad time today

i’m hungover with the shits
the upstairs neighbor is blasting rap

and someone was just here less than an hour ago
canvassing for some douche bag politician

i didn’t open the door for him
so he left a flier on my doorknob

it hangs there
as the census guy and i
stare each other down

i ask him if there’s anything else he needs

the census guy nods
and says, yeah,
do you happen to know the people next door?

i shake my head and tell him
i make it a point not to know anyone
in this building

the census guy smiles like he knows
then does the right thing and leaves

and i shut the door
leaving the flier for the politician
hanging there on my doorknob

like a head on a spike on a bridge

as a warning
for the next asshole
who gets the bright idea

to come casually knocking
upon my door.



John Grochalski is the author of the five poetry collections and two novels. Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

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