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July 2017, vol 13 no 2

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Kyle Hemmings

Wake Up Call

I feel like 88 yrs. old. I'm really between 64 and 88+. Lately my memory has been failing me and before that it didn't do me any great favors. Unless forgetting is a strength. A lifeguard who saves you from both drowning pool and camouflaged sharks. I can't "forget" that I live above a liquor store. I can't "forget" that each day around noon, a woman whose full name I can't remember calls to remind me to take all my pills. She says her husband kept forgetting and now there are traces of him all over the house, threads of his disappearance. It reminds her of a child who is careless with candy wrappers from the same brand, she says. Then she chats away about absolutely nothing. After we say good-bye, my stomach hums. I know it's mine because I don't have a cat. If I had a cat, I would feed it and its belly would not hum. It's just a law of nature. Like me taking a nap and waking up the same person. But without the pills, I could wake up a different person. Or not at all. I could "forget" to wake up. And the woman who calls me each day would claim that this is a natural outcome.

shadows demanding skin
the awkward innocence
of rain-streaked animals