I Need a New Belt
by Kevin Sweeney
I need a new belt.
The old one is fraying at the edges
though it doesn’t matter since I’m too fat
and usually don’t tuck in my shirts.
I need new undershirts and new underwear,
more new socks.
I am excited about this.
I plan on visiting Marshall’s, maybe Target.
I don’t want to spend much, but shopping
for these things means I’m not dead or
dying in some acute way. It’s like replacing
the rusted screen door, nailing down loose
boards on the porch, putting more tissues
and toilet paper in the bathroom, taking
an afternoon walk.
Maintenance is a beautiful thing; it’s next
to cleanliness in the competition for Godliness.
I don’t want to worry about BIG things.
I worried about them last week. With that
new belt and more mid–day walks — and
maybe an occasional swim at the rec center —
I could tuck my shirts in. I dream
of walking about the neighborhood or
the campus of the college where I teach, my
shirt tucked in and wind not ruffling my
vanishing hair (I wear a hat). I’d be happier
than the people with face paint and jerseys
at last night’s football game on national TV,
happier than the culturally–enslaved youths
wearing t–shirts & shorts in November.
Aristotle said young men could become
mathematicians but never know the joy
of finding a new belt at Marshall’s and
some of those tank–top undershirts (2XL)
so when someone asks how I am I can simply
reply, “I have a new belt.”