Cash Me Outside

My son and I sit lazy in our wingbacks,
discuss an icky internet meme. I ask
How can we get you on Dr. Phil?

And he says, Tell him I have voices
in my head. But not the devil—not malicious.
Mine’s an English waiter. I’ll talk to Dr. Phil

just as I’m speaking to you now, except
I’ll pepper it with exclamations like—
Yes! I’m sending it back! In what world

is this medium rare? and On the side
means:   On.    The.    Side.   Not
soaked through the goddamn lettuce.

And the voice inside my head says,
He is fifteen. He will not much longer
cash into your pointless conversations,

slip willingly into this subjunctive world,
population: the two of you. But my son
and I are laughing, counting Benjamins

in the wake of his triumph on the show. So
I stop my ears, refuse to listen, decline
Dr. Phil’s kind offer to pay to get me help.

Rodd Whelpley is the secret poet in residence at the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency. His work recently has appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Shot Glass Journal, Right Hand Pointing, The Naugatuck River Review, Eunoia Review, and others. During the day, when he’s not scribbling instead of working, he runs an electric efficiency program for 33 cities in the state.

See another poem in 5.3