by Jim Davis

I got your back, brother.
Ortega, in his youth, could move mountains.
Hands and knees in prayer. Our unified position
of expendable cells. I have had a cold
for seven days, and I have offended
the old men doing crossword puzzles, and the woman
who fills my cup, because every forty-three seconds
I clear my nose like a wild honking goose.
I spend most of my free time alone.
This morning, ladybugs click at the porcelain
enclosure of the ceiling lamp. And Ortega is on the run
from Reganite Contras – they made a game of it.
I used to play it when I was young, when I could
move mountains. The problem with writing
in a diner with congestion is the hard, recycled
napkins that chafe your nose. Plus, if you are not
careful, you’ll spread the germs and they will have won.
Instead, drug them. I’m telling you, I’m the most well-
adjusted lunatic you’ll ever want to meet.
Brother, I got so caught up
I almost forgot to tell you about the girl
who smiled at me from behind the pharmacy counter.
I was red-eyed and unshaved, had my hood up.
But she curled her lips briefly, and that was enough
for me to fall head over heels.

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