in the middle of the night for a pack of Turkish cigarettes
and scaring the hell out of cops with trigger-fingers.
Here he’s got a blanket to keep him warm as medication,
and even he admits it beats waking up dew-soaked and shivering
in the park where he watched me get remarried a few years after,
well, just after. Here we always shake hands before we hug,
and he’s always groggy from sleeping too long. We hit
the cafeteria and share a meal. He’s as hungry as he is sluggish
and his shirt’s too small to hide stretch marks just above
his beltless beltline. We usually play cards and crack jokes.
Sometimes he smiles exactly like he used to, like we’re at home
sitting across the kitchen table. Just last week, he looked enough
like himself for me to brave a question about the voices, Son,
do they sound real? He answered, They are real.
First appeared in Chiron Review (Issue 101)