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).