Never About Wallace

Wallace wants pizza for his birthday, so he digs yours out of the trash. He smells like dried urine, and he mimics you like a parrot. You don’t carry cash, so you pray help is on the way. With headphones stuffed back into your ears, you forget Wallace and head home.

The shelters are closed, and the ERs are full. It’s too cold tonight, but Wallace won’t make the news. You watch another billionaire fly a rocket into space.

“An achievement like no other,” praises the newscaster.

You cannot change how helpless you feel, so you go to sleep.


Matthew Downing is a writer in Chicago. He has been published in The Bangalore Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. You can find his work at matthewdowningstories.com. Twitter: @mdowningstories.