the check-up

The Check-up

At the
check-up the
surgeon said
“You won’t
remember this,
they’d just
wheeled you
in from
the operating
room &
you were
still
out of
it but–“

 

I cut him
off &
repeated what
he’d said
that day
in post op.

 

“Amazing!”
he said,
“that you
remember that!
That you
remember anything!
You were
barely
conscious!”

 

I refrained
from telling him
how I
used to
work 12-hour
shifts on
the floor of
the Red Garter
in the
French Quarter
during Mardi Gras,
high on acid &
guzzling pitchers
of beer,
filling twenty
drink orders
without writing
anything
down &
delivering
each drink
to the
right customer
as their
faces melted
in a wash
of color
& the
music from
the bandstand
generated
monstrous images
that floated
out over
the crowd.

 

Much later
I’d stand
on the
levee off
Decatur
Street as
the sun
was rising,
filled with
sadness,
watching the
Mississippi
roll out
to sea,
remembering
everything.

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