Skip to main content

Tony Brewer

The Doctor Is In

Sitting in my car gloving up
before mask on to buy groceries

I’m in Mindy West’s old
Ford Fiesta – 1986 we’re parked
in gravel between cornfields

her back seat jammed with wet
swim practice towels

as we navigate her stick shift
for a hustle in the front buckets

Gloving up with the news on
is Bon Jovi out of a boom box

because her car has no stereo
and every time feels like that first

Gloves snug as jeans
opening the nitrile cuff and inserting
my fingers bunched as bananas
flexing in ecstasy at the bind

carefully rough and excited
and scared and embarrassed

adding a layer of alone
is nothing like in the movies

her eager smile and that damp
hair in that moonlight

while at Kroger beneath the stare
of 360-degree surveillance lot cams

projected death tolls I cannot turn off
not feeling wild – wild in the streets

She guiding like a nurse
as I operate on a school night

with a playful snap of left glove
skin and breath weaponized

my bare fingers her anticipation
knees banging spasmodic against wheel wells

All survival acts should taste like this

I step out quiet in the populated void
onto the angled painted parking of a city

neither desperate nor essential
but still here and makeshift masked

bandana close as her mouth
wiping down the cart like a murderer
when once we were all over each other’s hands

rolling bravely through the automatic
sliding doors into a touchable doom
where not a soul can see me smile

Tony Brewer has lived in Indiana forever. His is author of The History of Projectiles (Alien Buddha Press, 2021) and Pity for Sale (Gasconade Press, 2022), among other titles. More at tonybrewer71@blogspot.com.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Maureen O'Leary

Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.