At The Drugstore
by Ron Gamache


Figures, I get here after it's happened. Some-
body goes in the drugstore and lifts a pack of Feen-a-Mint gum.
Big Bob St. Rock shows up to the corner
and they start feeding him one, two, three--six before
they tell him it's laxative. He says,
"Oh-muh-god-gotta-go" (no, really?) and does
the homerun trot all the way
home. Now the guys are trying to tell me--but they
can't even talk, laughing so they can hardly stand,
holding onto the mailbox with one hand,
weak and laughing so hard, Billy
has to go pee in the alley.
Our sounds flutter like pigeons past
second stories. The pharmacist knocks on the glass.
We look, as if caught stealing the sidewalk outside the store
right out from under the people on the upper-floor
porches. We have stolen the streetlamp from the bugs and bats,
stolen the velvet blackness of the sky that
hangs cool and jeweled over the city's grime.
A carload of girls drives by for the second time.
Richards hoots and jumps the mailbox when they pass us,
rides it like a bronco. Two dogs sniff each others' asses.
We light butts from butts.
Somebody knows karate moves, and he struts,
spins and kicks the lamp post just right--
out goes the light--
the aluminum pole dinging like the end of a round.

I and St. Rock were in his cellar once, alone.
We read his dead father's books and honed
our manhoods, put on the radio and the dead man's
boxing gloves that fit loose on our hands
and smelled of liniment and musty leather. We sparred
until Bob caught me square and hard
in the nose and I went weak,
dropping my arms like anchors in Shit Creek.
I stood limp and blurry-eyed.
He could've killed me there, but he waited, dancing side to side.

The pharmacist tells us to leave so we head down Main Street
where the girls went, giving only a fleet-
ing thought to St. Rock
and whether he might come back
and find the streetlamp buzzing, trying to come back on.







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