The Lime-Green Smear

At the side of the freeway

trembling, staring at his shoes,

the truck driver tells

the police officer his story,

a story about having to deliver

500 gallons of paint from El Paso

to Phoenix, how even though the lock

always slipped apart, nothing had ever

fallen out the back, how he didn’t even know

it was possible for a paint can

traveling at 70 miles per hour

to crash through a windshield,

hit somebody in the head

and only knock him unconscious

for a few minutes, how he was sorry

about the unsightly mess of lime green

but how lime green beats blood red any day.


Later, light-years above the freeway

chuckling, doubling over,

a space alien will tell

a few buddies his story,

a story about traveling far to assume

the form of a human between El Paso

and Phoenix, how he collided

with a car, briefly transforming

from solid to liquid, how he didn’t even know

it was possible for a hyper-intelligent being

traveling faster than the speed of light

to infiltrate the human race so shoddily,

have to pretend to be a miraculously saved man

and answer the questions of a fool in blue

for a few minutes, how he erased the memories

of all including the truck driver, whose green paint

played into the dullness of Occam’s razor.






Daniel M. Shapiro is a schoolteacher who lives in Pittsburgh. He is the author of three chapbooks: The 44th-Worst Album Ever (NAP Books, forthcoming), Trading Fours (Pudding House Press, forthcoming), and Teeth Underneath (FootHills Publishing). He is the co-author of Interruptions (Pecan Grove Press), a collection of collaborations with Jessy Randall. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Gargoyle, RHINO, Sentence, and Forklift, Ohio. His poetry website is