Lunch Poems

Poem for Starlings

A reminder of why banks are terrible places to practice your stand-up comedy routine.

When you try to make a joke
in a bank
it falls flat
there’s an armed guard
standing there
wearing sunglasses indoors
but no one laughs
in fact my intentions
are misunderstood
no, no, I am just
going to walk out
the door and come back in
to turn my coins
into paper money
fifty-three dollars
in the sunshine
I’m on my way
with my jacket
in my backpack
and the steel
grates over the pubs
early afternoon
my step as high
as the starlings
bickering in the sky
the birdsong
of the city
and the paper lifting off
the sidewalks
goodbye, I wish
the world were different


Matthew Rohrer is the author of six books of poems. His poetry has been widely anthologized and has appeared in many journals, and he has recently participated in residencies/performances at the Museum of Modern Art (New York City) and the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle). He teaches in the creative writing program at NYU and lives in Brooklyn. More by Matthew Rohrer