Wondrous Strange
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Dennis H. Lee’s

poetry has appeared in Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Elysian Fields Quarterly, Journal of New Jersey Poets, pacific REVIEW, RATTLE, and other journals.

Dennis grew up in Brooklyn and now lives in New Jersey.

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I’m Dennis

I drove past a sign welcoming me
to the town of Dennis, N.J.—
“Welcome to Dennis”—
and I couldn’t wait to stop
at the little vegetable stand
and put my tomatoes
on the cash register scale—
“I’m Dennis!” I said
as I paid the lady—
she nodded. “Dennis.”
And in town I went from store
to store—”I’m Dennis!”—
I told the grocer, and the young
boy working the counter at the hardware store,
the barber (who had gotten up
to put his paper down, then
frowned at me), the man
in old overalls at the gas station
(I don’t think he worked there),
two ladies window-shopping,
the woman in the pet store
who was up on a ladder, Harvey
at the diner, a man with an accent
at the dry cleaners—
and I yelled it out to the whole
Dennis Elementary School schoolyard
filled with children boarding buses—
“I’m Dennis”—and a lot of them
turned to look at me. “I’m Dennis!
Thank you for welcoming me.
I’ll be leaving soon,
but I hope to be back.”