Every few weeks, I am visited by a man who calls himself the policy merchant. He has a distinctive knock, is always impeccably dressed, and invariably refuses my invitation inside. At first I assumed he was selling something, and while this has proved incorrect, I’ve yet to learn the motives for his repeated visits. Each one brings a new conversation, though I remember less and less of what we’ve talked about soon after he departs. A curious feeling lingers long after he’s left our doorstep, as though I’ve forgotten a song I learned as a child. A song my mother forbade me to sing and so I had to steal away deep in the forest to sing it. [End Page 131]
Matthew Mahaney is the author of Your Attraction to Sharp Machines (BatCat Press, 2013). Recent poems have appeared in Barn Owl Review, the Journal, Mid-American Review, Paper Darts, Salt Hill, and Sixth Finch.