Published in Quantum Fairy Tales Fall/Winter 2014
My spent leg drags over the brown tile,
as graceful as a Bantha.
Sure, the Mandalorian body armor holds
my knee together, but I’m getting too old for this shit.
Tired of the nights camped out in my truck,
waiting for skips to duck out.
Tired of combing through databases till 3 a.m.
looking up license plates.
Tired of dressing up as a UPS dude
to gain access into their double-wides.
Eating nothing but Snickers for three days.
A large grilled chicken sandwich and waffle fries. Large, please.
A tall Coke. No ice. Hold the pickles. To go. Thanks.
I hit the head and run into
a 2 x 6 Day-Glo painting with Jeremiah 29:11 in bold print:
For I know the plans I have for you,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
It’s laughable like weak coffee, the garish rabbits and rainbows.
but I can’t unsee it.
AA meetings taught me to accept the things I cannot change,
like my father’s murder or Han freakin’ Solo.
Hardship is the pathway to peace, they say.
Doling out violence and fear are my defaults
and my sponsor knows I still can’t surrender to anyone.
Perhaps I need new expectations.
Holding the door for an old man in a Braves hat,
I keep my eye out for movement among the parking lot pines
and mutter a tiny prayer while backing out by the Drive-Thru.
And an even bigger one when I take a bite
to drive east into the sun.
Telling myself this ketchup on my armor is real,
even if the past isn’t.