On my very first hospital run I picked up this long-faced, country white guy who’d survived seven surgeries in the last five years. He looked to be late eighties, all but dead, but friendly in a half-deaf way.
Throughout it all, I put one foot in front of the other, watching the gray ribbon of road unspool beneath me.
One winter, years ago, a stray cat lived under my rear deck. He was long and skinny and had a tattered gray coat, a whip tail, a block head, and a set of elephant nuts that hung low off his hind end. He survived by eating scraps of leftover food my mother threw to the birds. The sight of him disgusted me.
A friend tells me, Back pain is always anger. I don’t believe him. Maybe, though, grief settles in the muscles there. That, I could believe.
Tonight, as you undress, I watch your wondrous flesh that’s swelled again, the way a river…