That’s what the governor says. I’m not needed, so stay home.
I’ve been working for 30 years as if it mattered what I did.
But now it doesn’t.
A laundromat’s essential, the governor says.
Washing machines matter a lot.
I don’t disagree.
The governor, who cares with his heart, wants to save my life, ‘cause were all going to die if
what we do doesn’t matter and we still do it!
When I lose my job, I guess that won’t matter much either, because the governor saved my life
from certain death. Or near so.
The governor will be happy then, and he’ll ask for my vote because I owe him.
I’m sure he means well.
I meant well when I told my son to stay home, since it wasn’t essential that he go out with his
friends, but since I’m no governor he ignored me and he got mashed on the interstate.
I can hear the governor telling me now, There you go. You get it. All life is essential! We just
have to stop living for the sake of life!
I don’t disagree.
He’s a clever guy, the governor.
Makes me understand why Plato had such a hard time in Syracuse.
Those governors know what they’re about. Why bother with caves and mysteries and such.
Appearances are truth, in any case. Everybody knows that.
Still, I wish I were essential.
On the other hand, my clothes keep getting dirty.
I don’t even know how.
I’ll gather up some quarters while I still have some, and take a trip to the the laundromat, which I
know is always open.
Brett Bourbon has published essays on philosophy, literature, and art, as well as Finding a Replacement for the Soul (Harvard UP, 2004). He has recently published a story entitled “The Sacred Boundary of Those Who are Close” in Fiction Pool. He was the featured poet in Reunion, and has also published poetry in Art News and Artsy. His poetry has been used in the work of the Pakistani sculptor Simeen Farhat.
Bourbon received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his Ph.D. from Harvard. He was a professor at Stanford for ten years, and is now an English professor at the University of Dallas.