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Richie the Rocket Flower

By Will Schmit

My friend took a job impersonating hollyhock

outside a detox facility window. The first day

he stood in a long stoop to fool the bees.

You know how uncertain a new job feels,

shifting like a Catholic from foot to knee,

not knowing what to do with your hands.

Every breath clouding from his lips set

him apart, all the eyes he ever imagined

were burning holes in his overalls.

Remember this is January so the sky curls

in peril. The live-in gardeners wait a minute

for the sun lozenge to dissolve before tripping

the sprinklers behind his back. It’s only an hour

‘til the whistle blows, but who’s counting hours

except Richie the Rocket Flower?


Will Schmit is a working class folk poet from Northern California. Will’s most recent recording Fix My Car: A Spoken Word Mythology is available for streaming at Spotify and on iTunes.


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