“In the Building” By Tony Gloeggler





The group home is getting dressed
for Halloween and Harry’s picked
the shiny white Elvis jump suit.
It’s way too tight. Two counselors
struggle to pull the top over
his shoulders, finally fit his arms
into sleeves. His stomach sticks
out like he’s ten months pregnant
and the workers try not to laugh.
Harry wants to know whether
he can eat five slices of pizza
at the party as he struts
toward the mirror, announces
that he looks like a fucking
dickhead. I nod, tell him
he sure does, ask if he prefers
the Humpty Dumpty costume.
He pauses, curls his top lip
like the King, strums an imaginary
guitar and sings I Can’t Help
Falling In Love as the workers
slow dance across the floor.


(This poem first appeared in Quercus)


About Tony Gloeggler: I am a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. My work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, The Examined Life Journal, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Stirring and The NY Times. My full length books include One Wish Left(Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015) which focused on my job and the autistic son of a former girlfriend. My next book, What Kind Of Man, will be published by NYQ Books in 2019.


More By Tony Gloeggler


“Visitor’s Day at the Group Home”


Image Credit: “You Auto Have a Happy Hallowe’en” International Art Publishing Company (1907) Missouri History Museum, Public Domain

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