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After the V.A. (With each line’s final word from a poem by Gregory Orr)


“hungry ghost the night”

--Gregory Orr, from “After the Guest”

The day departs

quiet as hell, the briefest

last moments of light. I have no wife.

I have a chair, a table, & sink

though. I have cups & plates.

Neighbors I don’t know. & masks.

I even wore

one to work today. I have hands.

& a tumor. I don’t have tears.

I hate tears. I have a photo

of an ex-girlfriend. She once fed

me vegan for a year, the food looking

sad, a bit lonely, healthy. We had guests.

They’d leave. She left. I had a nap

just now. The ultrasound guy showed me a sight

of something in my neck, a shadow, like night

has entered my body, the cold

internal parts of me, like my insides need a blanket.

She used to be able to carry me on her shoulders.

I look pretty good. I feel so old.

 

Ron Riekki’s books include And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press), Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Michigan State University Press, 2016 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes Best Regional Fiction), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (Wayne State University Press, 2014 Michigan Notable Book awarded by the Library of Michigan), and U.P.: a novel (Ghost Road Press).


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