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March 9, 2022 / barton smock

(from 2010. SORRY

from 2010. some storytelling has been lost.

CITY WORRY

I was writing a note to my father. I had gotten this far-  father, the birdhouse has become more than I can bear. It was a note I should’ve written weeks ago. My wife wouldn’t eat, my kids kicked arrowheads or didn’t bother kicking them at all. My first thought on my not breathing so good was: it’s this goddamn note. I took a walk, I passed father’s orchard. I opened my mouth many times very wide, many times I had to kneel. It was so quiet I failed to panic. The hospital seemed as accidental as my being there. An ambulance had its sirens lit but I heard nothing. Two young men were fighting passively over sitting in a wheelchair. One of the men gave up and sat on the bumper of the ambulance which took off so slowly he needn’t hang on. His legs swung and he waved to me or someone behind. Inside the hospital, there was a bell to ring and a rope to pull. It crossed my mind what exactly was my emergency. I was getting weaker. It took me an hour to reach the elevator. There was a little girl going down. She was holding  a silver bird like an iron and she was pressing it into the stitched back of a man on a gurney. She looked up at me and dropped the bird. I picked up the bird, it wasn’t real, its beak was missing. I pointed to the man and asked the girl is this your father. The girl told me no and asked me what room my son was in. I really just wanted to go up and down and up again. Make it to the roof. Be the first one there.

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