Anya Groner

No Better than Any Other

Anya Groner

Yesterday, I watched a girl in City Park
pull out her camera and wait for an egret

to skim away. Patience, I thought. The bird
left. The girl clicked then turned to rummage

through the ash atop a trashcan.
Even if I could tell you, you wouldn’t want

to know, how many butts she pocketed.
Last year, a doctor at a bar confessed

how obese men who don’t fit
in the MRI tube get sent to the zoo,

to the same machine the company
vets use for baby rhinos. Can a person die

of shame? Mom, when I grow up, I want to be
a bouncer. A child said that to my sister.

He didn’t even notice that he’d called
a stranger mom. The kid drew himself

in twenty years: a ball balanced on one finger
and gray high heels perched beneath slender

ankles. Three pink hearts floated above his curls.
Too often, I leave my sneakers in the middle

of the rug. The doctor, my fiancé now, trips on them.
He’s polite and in love and doesn’t complain.

I keep promising I’ll buy a shoe rack,
but every morning I think not today.

ANYA GRONER’s poetry, stories, and essays can be found in journals including The Oxford American, Guernica, Women Studies Quarterly, Ninth Letter, and Meridian. She currently teaches writing at Loyola University in New Orleans. For more information, check out