Piker Press Banner
June 24, 2024

Ronald McDonald House

By Tony Gloeggler

My friend Dave said
it's a great place to meet
women and I wanted
to start a writing group
for the kids with cancer,
their brothers and sisters.
But half the kids barely
speak English and the women
all sell advertising space
or work on Wall Street.
We sit around a table
as long as the Last Supper,
gesture, smile and repeat
polite phrases while making
collages. The women stay
in groups of two or three
like sixth grade and talk
about Upper East Side
rents, Mariah Carey,
and parties on Fire Island.
No one wonders out loud
About the missing kids,
If Nicky's down the block
eating pizza with his twin
sister visiting from Greece,
whether Aaron went home
to die in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I keep my head down, busy
filling construction paper
with armies of stick figures
and stenciled letters that spell
out the names of dead guitar
players and old girl friends
until a kid calls my name,
wants to play ping pong.

Tonight, I'm playing ball
with Anthony. He's five,
maybe six, can't catch for shit
and since his hair fell out
looks like the leader
of the Smashing Pumpkins.
His round, beaming face
bobs up and down
to the bouncing ball
like a cartoon sing-along
and I find myself humming
silly summer songs. You want
to read that Anthony short
hops a grounder and flips it
underhand like Knoblauch
starting an inning ending
double play. You want me
to write he traps the ball
in his lap, waves it over
his head like he caught
a Mark McGwire home run.
But no really, he kind of claps
his hands together and the ball
pops up, bounces across
the table, knocking down a castle
of blocks, and this little girl,
this dark haired pretty little girl,
starts crying and nothing
me, the women volunteers
or even her mother try
helps at all. She keeps
crying louder and deeper,
and I swear I'd bang her head
on the floor, if I thought
it could make her stop.

Article © Tony Gloeggler. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-11-21
Image(s) are public domain.
0 Reader Comments
Your Comments

The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.