Unbidden

an old man with nicotine stained hands
pours his fifth shot of Jameson’s
he sits at his ancient arborite table
with a hand rolled ciggie burning away uselessly
his blackened paw lolls there in its traced-out spot
and the ciggie suddenly burns into his naugahyde skin.
He stands, knocking over his old chair that bleeds stuffing,
and the last words I ever heard him say were
I am puzzled.
and I remember what the morning brought for him.

next
a four year old girl runs tauntingly from her mother at the market
a true hellion with freckles and Shirley Temple hair
she’s in black patent leather shoes with a strap
an anachronism in a pinafore
next
a frail old lady I knew as my own
lies in her bed with a tin bucket by her side
to throw up in
and she says go home to your wife and kids, go home
next
a full face phantom of a troubled woman I knew
from group, who seems troubled no longer
and smiles to me
and it makes me glad
but her eyes change horribly
and a front tooth drops out
what have I done?
next
from decades back
an accidental eavesdropping
the giants in our little lives
they talk about we two brothers
but there is no love in it
they talk about our two big brothers and the drinking
and the girlfriends who are never good enough

almost to sleep
and then, there is Rosie, and we are thirteen
she is the first to ever like me
and I throw all of my clumsy love
to her soft pink cashmere
fluttering lashes
and silver braces

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