Driving into town I know there isn’t enough gas.
I get as close as I can and start walking;
The side of the highway isn’t designed for this –
There’s shit everywhere and the cars are a menace.
No longer equals, it’s me against them:
The guy you don’t want to be.
On cold days I wear a military issue, Vietnam-era, green army shirt over my black hoodie.
Between doctor appointments (the first is a test)
A man asks me what the church is having for lunch.
I take a minute,
War has moved out of the jungle and into the desert,
And they don’t make shirts like they used to.
On up the hill, on the edge of campus,
I used to blend in,
Who am I kidding
Dig for the dugout,
I might be dying,
But I have time to kill.
Back down the other side a girl steps in front of me,
A robust child slung over her shoulder
Staring at me.
I put kindness on my face just for him,
Just for a minute. After all,
These are the streets.
I cross to the hospital,
Pass the valet on my way to the bathroom.
All to myself
I risk it at the urinal,
Someone walks in midstream and I freeze.
I’d never make it in prison.
Three hours still to go and I’m hungry.
There’s a grocery store a couple blocks away,
I buy peanuts, bananas, and a jug of water,
Find a bench and enjoy my lunch.
A couple of men wait for the bus,
I want to give them peanuts in solidarity.
Back at the hospital I consider letting them know I’ve arrived,
But I don’t want to rush the results.
I find a chair in another department and sit down
With my plastic grocery bag
Full of peanut shells
And a jug of water.
Fifteen minutes to go and I tell them I’m there.
Right this way sir,
I scan her face for my results,
Someone from the team will be with you shortly.
Jesus. Here we go.
I need to get my car off the road.