national poetry month: gift from ed june 29, 2003

gift from Ed june 29, 2003
by rachel snyder

Today Ed gave me the brainlash book
bought it for a dollar outside the used book store,
in the bin.
Took it to the bakery where I get bread for 25 cents and he usually
gets coffee, lots of sugar,
for free.
Had them hold it for me
by name.
The man can’t pull it together to comb or wash his hair or
locate a relatively clean shirt.
His mind is addled with stories from the past, of classes at Yale
in the 1970s,
of Golda Meir and VW busses and cute girls knocked up
by drugged-out hippies.
Yet he found me the right book, paid a dollar for it, and
brought it back to a place we both frequent
and remembered to ask the girl behind the counter
where it was.
He tells me about Chinese doctors and chiropractors he wants me to see
He says, “I care about you.”
He remembers my children’s ages, how old we all were,
in 1984.
His eyes shine with a deep celestial blue that radiates the light of God
I share my cherries with him, that my friend Howard bought,
and massage his neck and shoulder.

His spine feels like a bag of bones
He reeks of cigarette smoke coaxed out of tossaway butts he picks up out of the garden
and on the sidewalk,
dark, concentrated cigarette smoke that has stained his
strangely soft and feminine hands.

3 thoughts

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