Today's poem is by Caki Wilkinson

Fisher King

They sold my favorite dive
    to Revco
the week my gangrene toes
    got clipped,
(a logging accident—
    I sued, lost).
No doctor slipped me salve
    or sundries.
Crews gutted and waxed, adding
bulbs, a pharmacy, checkouts,
    blood pressure
monitors, a freezer case.
    Stools were sawed
to kindling, and they boxed up
    twelve dozen
pint glasses by the dumpster—
    a damn shame.
This was twenty years ago
    and counting,
but still my days are bland
    as water.
I can't bring myself to try
    the pricey
uptown joints, and many nights
    I return
to this familiar sidewalk,
    stand outside
and watch the smocked employees
    locking up.
When the store goes black, glares
    from streetlights
reflect me still inside where,
    decades back,
I joined the other loggers
    after work,
slurping a dozen cold
    lobed oysters,
the hot-sauce stinging low
    in my throat
while Johnny Carson beamed,
    all toothy,
"That's outstanding, really
Now, approaching longer days,
    the patrons
come at sunset and linger
    past closing.
The spring aisle is tangled
    with windsocks
and women who buy windsocks.
    I'm hungry
for one; she's young and yellow
like the Morton Salt girl,
    and I keep
a pearl tucked under my tongue,
    lozenged there
in the grotto of my mouth,
    a flawless
specimen I've saved, waiting
    for the one
whose glossed lips will receive it
    and heal me
through closeness, make my heavy
    boots buoyant.
This is modern medicine.
    This is me,
corkscrewed through parting skies,
    the naked
seraphs crooning, isn't it

Copyright © 2006 Caki Wilkinson All rights reserved
from Black Warrior Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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