“Eleven Ways of Participating on Zoom,” by Gary Grossman

Apr 20th, 2024 | By | Category: Poetry

In bed, back propped up against
two pillows wearing your alma
mater sweatshirt.

With your laptop on your thighs tilted
at forty-five degrees, so the audience
has a clear view of your nostril’s contents.

On your office desktop, professionally
dressed, with lots of impressive books
on bookshelves behind you.

Eating dinner so everyone will know
your diet and how you masticate.

After any meal with food protruding
from between incisors and bicuspids.

Sitting in front of a blindingly bright
window—face obscured like someone from
the anti-terrorist squad being interviewed.

With your cat walking back and forth in front
of your webcam, especially if they have
high contrast pelage such as black and white.

With a fake background that looks like it’s trying
to absorb your head like a predatory

With a dog by your side that keeps whining
from lack of attention and eventually dumps
on the floor, while you yell “shit, shit, shit.”

Just out of the shower with a canary-yellow
towel wrapped around your damp hair.

Exercising on your treadmill, head
continuously bobbing up and down
like a drunken chicken.


Gary Grossman, Professor Emeritus of Ecology, University of Georgia, has poems, short fiction and essays in 47 literary reviews. His work has been nominated for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions and Pushcart Prize for 2023. For 10 years Gary wrote “Ask Dr. Trout” for American Angler Magazine. Gary’s poetry books Lyrical Years (Kelsay), and What I Meant to Say Was… (Impspired Press), are available from Amazon. His 2023 graphic memoir My Life in Fish—One Scientist’s Journey…(Impspired) also may be purchased from Amazon.

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