Impression-Management Consultant

by Treehouse Editors

Jim Richards

A homeless man wearing a black overcoat, standing before a shop window, looks through his reflection to a leather jacket hanging on a headless mannequin. A rat peeks at him from the gutter grate, watching for crumbs to fall from bread the man keeps in his holey pockets. The man and the rat are on intimate terms since they share this corner of sidewalk. Between them, rushes a stream of people, each with a phone in hand, except for one young woman who is carrying a book. As the rain comes on, the people rush faster, and the sound of their shoes on wet cement increases the city’s treble. The rain comes harder, and the rat ducks into his crack, the homeless man wanders off, and the woman, who is wearing heels, hurries down the sidewalk holding the book above her head.

Jim Richards’ poems have been nominated for Best New Poets, two Pushcart Prizes, and have appeared recently in Sugar House Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Juked, Comstock Review, Cumberland River Review and others. He lives in eastern Idaho’s Snake River valley and has received a fellowship from the Idaho Commission on the Arts.