Posted in Rituals

Payback

Antarctica was full of pranks
occasionally funny
sometimes spiteful
Invariably juvenile : unsurprising –
the base often wore the costume of a fraternity house
or boarding school dormitory.

Disclaimer: I walked right into it –
vegetarian sandwiches labelled for the flight home
should never have been left unattended.
Gotcha,
jalapeno juice – lift bread, pour over
hot – very hot – inedible
the flight long and slow – strong winds
11 hours, plus three since chow
hungry, very hungry.
Still, some satisfaction
the perpetrator never got to see my frustration.

A decade later
another time, another place
a private hospital : the perpetrator’s father a patient
open and shut the surgeon called it, only prayer.

8.30 a.m. Christmas morning
as he cannot go to them, they have come to him
10 or 12 siblings, nephews and nieces
the charge nurse asks
can you do Christmas lunch for them?
She understands if I can’t – lack of notice etc
there are only four working
it will be a long, very long, day.
“Sure.” I say.

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Author:

Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.