Joshua Gottlieb-Miller

I’m quitting to write alone
in the woods until
my money runs out.

Limp up front
to let Boss know
I’m not coming back.

Pain is eighty percent
mental, Boss says. It hurts
too much to nod.

What’s Japanese
for continual improvement
that ruins your ambitions?

Kaizen, Boss says,
it’s a made-up word
but it’s not, just popular with people

who know what it means
and think that’s what it is.
I’m quitting.

I’ll quit today.
Dawn pre-thaw commute,
lake ice shines desolate

and I impute moral character
to its buy-in:
every day the lake’s

a little more itself freezing
deeper to its core.
A lake doesn’t need

to want
to be consumed
by years

it’s going through,
interrupted by:
Not everyone’s improving.

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller received his PhD and MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston, and has been a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, as well as the Tent Writing Conference at the Yiddish Book Center. Newer poetry appears in Brooklyn Rail, Concision, miCRo, Pithead Chapel, Berru Poetry Series, and elsewhere.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021