Piker Press Banner
February 19, 2024

War Stories

By Tony Gloeggler


When we're all sitting
around waiting for buses
to pull up to the curb, drop
the guys off from day
program or watching TV
waiting for ten o'clock
and the night shift to take
our place, sometimes talk
turns to back in the day:
The first time they came over
for lunch, how Jimmy fit
an entire Big Mac in his mouth,
the special sauce spraying
the table like a hydrant
on the summer's hottest day
and Liz shaking her head
whispering he's gonna be
a shit load of trouble. I smiled,
knowing he wasn't assigned
to me. That Sunday afternoon
when Raphael the worker
you'd least want to see walking
toward you on a late night
empty street, fell asleep
and Jimmy spread his feces
through Raphael's perfectly
picked afro. Jose promising
to take Jimmy to the hookers
on Third Avenue for a half
and half on his twenty-first
birthday. The quiet summer
morning Jean started screaming
and I flew down the stairs,
saw her leaning over Jimmy's
bed trying to wake him,
yelling come on boy, breathe.
She grabbed his shoulders,
I took his legs and we lifted,
carried him to the floor,
stretched him flat
on his back. I tilted
his chin, cleared his airway,
covered his mouth with mine
and blew, then compressed
his chest and she counted
over and over until
the paramedics clattered
up the stairs. I stood
in the doorway, out
of breath, tasting
his vomit, sweat stinging
my eyes, almost crying
when the medics gave up
on Jimmy, the one guy
I never learned to like.

Article © Tony Gloeggler. All rights reserved.
Published on 2017-01-16
Image(s) are public domain.
0 Reader Comments
Your Comments

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