Feeling Squeezed at the Grocery Store I Conclude that the Propensity to Ignore Pain is Not Necessarily Virtuous, but Continue Shopping and Gather the Ingredients for Ham Fried Rice because That’s What I Cook When My Wife is Out-of-Town and I’m Not in the Mood for Italian, and Dammit I’m Not Ill, Merely a Little Inconvenienced, and Hey, in the 70’s I Played Football in Texas, and When the Going Gets Tough…
I answer work email in the checkout line. Drive home, take two aspirin.
Place perishables in refrigerator. Consider collapsing in bed. Call wife.
Let in dog. Drive to ER, park. Provide phone numbers. Inhale. Exhale.
Repeat. Accept fate and morphine. Ask for lights and sirens, imagine the
seas parting. On the table, consider fissures and cold air, windows and
hagfish. Calculate arm-length, distance and time. Expect one insertion,
receive another. Dissonance in perception, in reality. Turn head when
asked. Try reciting Kinnell’s “The Bear.” Try again, silently this time.
Give up. Attempt “Ozymandias.” Think of dark highways. Wonder about
the femoral, when and how they’ll remove my jeans. Shiver uncontrollably.
The events in this poem took place more than eight years ago. A lifetime ago.