HEALTH INSURANCE AS SCYTHE
I go through the list of all the things
the insurance company will cover & compare
with other carriers who might be willing
to carry me. I haven’t been carried in longer
than I would like. When did I become too
delicate for good rough loving? I have long
worried about hurting my father’s back
by roughhousing, who I once kicked
between the legs while we waited for a quarter
pound of boar’s head cracked pepper turkey
sliced thin at the grocery store and who
got white hot angry. The list is getting red
in the face and freaking me out. Like the time
dad wore cherry red lipstick and really was
Dracula. I take the hint and run.
EXISTENCE AS ZOMBIE ATTACK
I consider my probability of being scratched
by the bodega cat & decide it’s unlikely,
go in for a scratch under her small chin.
Will a pigeon run into me on my bicycle?
Probably I shouldn’t ride my bicycle
in this city. I can’t catch any new diseases
because any prescription whose patent
hasn’t expired will cost too much.
I haven’t broken a bone yet, touch wood,
well, maybe don’t because splinters.
Maybe I’ll get my regular checkup next year.
AMBULANCE AS WOLF FANG
Nightmares are just dreams that hurt,
stress knots of problems and hope kneaded
out like biscuits in the night, when the boss
turns into Freddy and you have to praise
his life’s work so he not only won’t slash you
but will give you a raise. How many wounds
are healed though pain? I fall asleep and am
thrown off a cliff by a walking corporation
with big wobbly fake scary blown up hands
after I see what I would have to pay
for a fabulous van to drive me a few blocks.
WALK-IN CLINIC AS VAMPIRE BITE
I drop my dreams of honey & apricot juice
on a lush hillside overlooking the ocean
& biting whole lemons I pick from the tree,
& dream of walk-ins that are really that,
that don’t ask my name unless they want
to know it or can sense that I want them to know
it when they hold my hand & stitch
my finger back to my finger. The hospital
doesn’t give them it post-op if they even
find out who I am. I will be hurt,
or hurting, but the question in this country
is in how many ways.
Andy Powell is a Teaching Artist for DreamYard in the Bronx, has writing out or forthcoming with Winter Tangerine Review, Peach Mag, Voicemail Poems, The Paris Review, elsewhere, is a reader for Adroit Journal, and is a 2018 fellow to The Poetry Foundation & Crescendo Literary's Poetry Incubator.