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one thing leads to another

by Gabriel Ricard

I can almost see the man,
so out of it,
so far into thoughts of high school baseball,
he doesn’t even seem to care that he can’t
simply get rid of the blood on his hands
by wiping them on his jeans.

It’s even reasonable to see him
push the screen door open,
walk outside,
breathing heavy,
and moving until he finally realizes
there isn’t a stairway going straight up
in that emergency room of a cornfield.

A lot of the homes on this road are like that one.
They tell me that there’s this one old man
who owns them with all the confidence
of a shaky dreamer trying to run through
the world’s largest house of cards.

He had a lot of family,
but no one’s really sure
what happened to them.

My ride doesn’t know either.
She’s just talking at length
about what she got out of ten years
on a cityscape’s worth of country road.

We’re morbid, I guess.
Or at least I am. Twenty-three years
of car accidents trying to top the last one
just past my front porch will do that to a person.

I’m hopeless. I win drinking contests with myself,
but I’m always asleep when I do,
so I can’t even sit on the fire truck
that’s leading the victory parade held in my honor.

She has better things to do with her time.
That’s not a corrupted statistic of self-loathing.
I did some research a little while ago
while learning valuable tools of the trade
like riding a golf cart down a flight of stairs
and when it’s good to take a bow
before I’ve ever opened my mouth.

I looked into it,
and trust me,
I know,
I know she has better things to do with her time
than kiss me,
and remind me that I’m ridiculous.

Or tell me morbid stories,
while the headlights prepare to shake the hand
of whatever might be reaching out from the darkness.

Then again
I’m also arrogant,
so I guess it probably isn’t fair
to imagine how she could best be spending her time.

Appreciation might be a better call.

I could say something sometime.
I should,
but she has a lot of those stories to tell,
and I’m a better listener than I have been in years.

04/28/2012

Author's Note: this takes a pretty sharp turn, but, you know, i still like it.

Posted on 04/28/2012
Copyright © 2022 Gabriel Ricard

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Linda Fuller on 04/29/12 at 07:08 PM

I like it too. "...while the headlights prepare to shake the hand of whatever might be reaching out from the darkness" really strikes me.

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