HIV/AIDS storytelling: kearns: sorting it out at lulu’s #1 (024)

richardkearns.awo.brickstermoi1128071014bbeverly & detroit, north & west
seven-fifty before eleven
on unoccasions
lean’d against the bookster
bricks
i’ve slipp’d & rush’d away
down dark sharp
obsdian fracturing
mountainslides


since october
through november
during december &
now the new next year
rumblesong’d along
clawing night
finding purchase
my bodydrum here
plays quiet foothold
sunblush’d my face
a new place to be home
lulu’s

stuck in the corner
between two doors
not really seeing
the wall before her
molly
like a giant christmas
wind-up toy
in her tilted wheelchair
its run played out
but not its rubberband &
then abandoned for
broke broke broken
molly
unlooking through her
unsleep-painted shark eyes
till someone turns her & she
races to another wall
molly
her grey stringy hair
cropped short
molly
was there all night
staring without moving
molly
screams with terror &
more vigor than i
knew she had
when the caregivers try to
wheel her into her
darkened room
molly
whose grey stringy hair was
once shoulder-long & who wore daily
the same pretty front-button’d cotton
print housecoat & pink sweater &
eager uplook’d smile
foodstain’d molly
a couple of years ago
told me she
grew up in
lawrence kansas where
her father journeyed
to become its first
railway telegraph agent &
sent back east for
her mother, mailorderlike,
whose artistic temperment
was much too for
lawrence kansas &
mama poured that
into molly
from whom it
this morning leaked out
in beads of cold shiny sweat
turning her pale skin marble
i used to rescue her from
dining room scraps &
fistfights after meals when
other snarling wheelchairing
turf-defending similarly foodstain’d
denizens would attack
when she rolled table to table
collecting undrunk cartons of milk &
paper placemats which she
folded carefully & in mysterious
oragami-seeming patterns &
tucked away in the royal
blue nylon flight bag
she carried with her always
back when i felt safe eating in
the dining room in
the meat locker inn
i live in

lulu’s
a where to breathe the air &
tank unsweeten’d hot brown coffee
that stings like morning medicine in my lungs &
feast & wonder & watch &
ache in my bruises &
recover my heart
open for dinner in 2008
waiting for me

—rk

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