Wheeling around & banging into graves

March 11, 2002
"There's a killer on the road.." -J.M.

I'm kicking against the obstinate concrete
kicking with my feet such that I'm thrown backwards in the wheelchair
that I picked up at Thrift Town the other day for ten bucks.

I hate the sidewalk.
I hate everyone and everything.
I don't look up.
I kick some more and bang up against a tree.
Then thrust by anger into action
I spin in the chair and with arms pumping
tear down Hillary Street
across Cohn and into the cemetery to grieve.

There's a crypt with the family name Duke
carved into marble.
My friend is dying
and there's nothing I can do
but kick
and pump the wheels of this chair
past crypt after crypt, grave after grave
this chair I don't belong in
as an able-bodied man
and I'm just waiting for someone to call me on it
so I can leap up and sucker punch them square in the face.
I hate everyone and everything.
My friend is dying
and there's nothing I can do.

But swipe my credit card
and sign on the line for $200 worth of
X-rays and tests and bullshit
that I know won't help her.
I knew it when I rolled over this morning
and gazed into her lost stare
and lifted up her limp body
to make her drink.
She drank
because she loves me.
She drank to please me but her eyes
were already saying goodbye.

I wrapped her up snug
started the car
called the hospital
and bolted across town
with her inert form beside me
and her one open eye
saying goodbye.

And I thought of the infants
tiny human corpses
that I would pick up from the Children's Hospital
on my mortuary job years ago
and how I wouldn't put them on the gurney
no sense in that
but rather place them gently in my lap
faceless, cold, wrapped like mummies
tiny
dead
people.

Tomorrow
barring some miracle kidney cure
I will be picking up my little person's body
faceless, cold, wrapped like a mummy
and taking her home.

I won't carry her in my lap, however,
but hold her to my breast
tucked in my coat
my throat choked
with stifled screams
and my hands tight on the steering wheel
fighting off the urge
to swerve 90 degrees
kicking the obstinate concrete abutment
and leaving the causeway at 60
airborne
then down
breaking the surface of Lake Ponchatrain
and sinking
unable to bear the death of one more beloved pet
to the bottom
Duke, Matilda and me
flipping the world the bird
or rather
the ferret.

RSM







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