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“Philosophy” by M. Krockmalnik Grabois

I was mopping floors in a deli
when I should have been
completing my philosophy degree

I used to argue philosophical points
with a teaching assistant named Witherspoon
in a large high ceilinged room
on the top floor of the Humanities building
He had a beard and long hair
chain-smoked unfiltered Camels
held them between thumb and forefinger
til he nearly burned himself
He was from Kentucky and had a strong accent
I liked everything about him

He told me I had a real knack for Philosophy but
as my depression deepened
I lost the ability to keep the arguments straight
and began to avoid him

One day he caught me in the hall
and asked if he had inadvertently offended me
I mumbled, “No, of course not”
then hurried away
like a grimy Dostoyevsky character

My discussions with Witherspoon
had been one of the few things holding me together
As I became more mentally unbalanced
I became physically unbalanced as well
I walked through campus
listing like a ship taking on water
Acquaintances looked at me

Working in the deli
I felt I’d lost everything
and believed I would never
get it back

Mitch Grabois was born in the Bronx and now lives in Denver. His short fiction and poetry appear (or will appear) in over one-hundred literary magazines, most recently The T.J. Eckleberg Review, The Examined Life, Memoir Journal, Out of Our and The Blue Hour. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, published by Xavier Vargas E-ditions, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords (which also provides downloads to PC’s).