A Chicagoan who sees Death on the way
may then and not an angstrom before
whisper their innermost Parking secrets
to an heir, their next of kin, to a lucky care-giver
on shift when the spectre appears. Locations,
special techniques. How to swipe the Mayor’s spot
for a week and avoid towing. Ten steps
to dismantle a metal parking boot,
and reassemble it, and so roll to drive
another day. Rumors about Big Johnny,
who can erase records when he wants to,
who can wipe those debts. The time you blocked
two lanes of Upper Wacker to get a haircut.
No spaces then, per se. When the offspring lean in,
one fader says, Wabash & Balbo—two bucks
for the long weekend. Three should you wish
valet service. He coughs half a lung out, croaks,
Ask for Murray, say I sent you,
say I told you before shoving off.
Todd Mercer won the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Award for 2015 and was runner-up in the Palm Beach Plein Air Poetry Awards. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s poetry and fiction appear in journals such as: Apocrypha & Abstractions, The Camel Saloon, Cheap Pop, The Lake, The Legendary, Main Street Rag, Midwestern Gothic and Spartan.