Zone 2 Registration
so I had reached that age where
I had to have a procedure done and
I had to go to another city
to a hospital I’d never been to before
I drove an hour through the rain
and several miles of construction
before I saw the signs and found
a space in the parking lot
I slowly made my way inside
light spilling through the doors
and spreading across the hallway
I tried not to look at her face for too long
but she had such a beautiful face
her dark hair pulled back and
held in place with a bright red scrunchie
she smiled at me and I told her
I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place
when I told her what I was there for
she shook her head and gave me another smile
which I quickly slipped into my pocket
saving it for some later time
she told me I needed to go upstairs to Zone 4
and she got up from her desk
came and stood next to me
before leading me back into the hallway
and pointing me toward the elevators
I thanked her and hesitated
before going on my way hoping
I would see her again
when I reached Zone 4
it was an older man with thinning hair
sitting behind the desk
he smiled at me and acted nice enough
but it just wasn’t the same
Through the Glass
Remember when you went crazy? I said.
He turned toward the window and laughed.
Yes, he said, I remember.
Then he said, look out the window.
I looked out the window.
What am I supposed to be looking at? I asked.
Well, he said, what do you see?
Nothing, I said.
You don’t see anything?
No, I said.
You don’t see the trees and the grass?
Well, yeah, I said. I see the trees and the grass. I see the corn field.
So? He said.
So what? I said.
Do you consider those things nothing?
Well, no, I said. I just thought when you wanted me to look out the window there was something unusual out there you wanted me to see.
Unusual? Like what?
I don’t know, I said. Usually when someone wants you to look out the window it means there’s something out there you don’t expect to see.
Oh, he said. I guess I didn’t realize that.
So when you told me to look out the window you just wanted me to see the trees and the grass?
Hey, he said. I didn’t mean to upset you.
I’m not upset, I said. I’m not upset. I just don’t understand you, sometimes.
He got up and went over to the refrigerator. He opened the refrigerator door and looked inside.
Do you want a sandwich? I’m going to make me a sandwich.
I don’t want a sandwich, I said.
Do you want a beer? He asked.
Yes, I said. Give me a beer.
He reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle. He handed the bottle to me and I took it from him. I held it in my hand for a moment before I opened it and took a long slow drink.
I See Ghosts
I’ve kept the house where I grew up
the house I lived in
for more years than I should have
the house where my mother lived for 56 years
before we moved her into an apartment
in another town 60 miles away
the house where my father died
just the way he wanted
asleep in his own bed
and not in some sterile hospital room
hooked up to machines
the house where my brother was living
when he died in a car wreck
on a twisting country road
in the small hours of morning
the empty house
where nobody lives anymore
it’s been falling apart for years
but I still keep the yard mowed
and I have things stored in the garage
but I don’t go into the house
I haven’t been inside it for a long time
I keep all the doors locked and
when I look through the windows
I think I see ghosts in there moving around
and they’re not the frightening kinds of ghosts
you sometimes encounter in movies and books
but they still haunt me
sometimes I sit around
the things I did or did not do
Big Giant Eye
I remember lying in my bed at night
after everyone had gone to sleep
lying there trying not to move
this was years ago
when I was just a boy and
I imagined there was a giant monster
right outside the house
bending down to look in my window
with its big giant eye
and I didn’t move a muscle
I tried not to even breathe
hoping the monster wouldn’t notice me
and it would just give up
and move on to the next house
when I was growing up
I watched a lot of giant monster movies
years before we had cable TV
and a thousand channels to choose from
the local stations played movies
sometimes on sunday afternoons
and the giant monsters always wreaked havoc
after rising up out of the sea
or after burrowing their way
from deep under the ground
where they had been hidden for centuries
and they always destroyed the city
and sent the people fleeing from their homes
leaving them frightened and wondering
what they were going to do
standing out there in the open
pointing toward the sky
watching as the amassing armies
failed to halt the monster’s progress
but in the end
everything turned out okay
Big Yellow Cat
whatever happened to that
big yellow cat I saw
stalking the backyard
like the king of the jungle
when I went over to the window
and made a sudden noise
and the big yellow cat stopped
turning its feline head
and looked at me
before running away
into the corn