The Doctor at the V.A.
tells me it’s all in my head. The cough,
my back, the pneumonia, the memories,
my future, his past, the smooth leather
of chairs, the story of Snow White,
the Qur’an, the weather, this hospital.
He writes on a slip of paper for me to slip,
fall, tumble, collapse into my own eyes,
swallow myself in a mirror, and I try.
For three weeks, I attempt every word
he tells me. The chairs becoming air.
The leather being eaten into nothing.
The ability to see no snow . . . I go back
to the hospital that doesn’t exist.
He pulls out an encyclopedia, shows me
that there are more Christians
than Muslims in the world. I pull out
a brochure that shows him there are more
Muslims than Christians in the world.
A Hindu shows us a wikipedia entry
that states there are more Hindus
than people in the world. The people
of the world all pile into the office,
billions, so that the ceiling Alices.
It rises like a crucifix and impales
the glass ceiling that holds us all
My Best Friend Attempts Suicide, Fails
I wonder sometimes if failing
is a good thing, that if Jesus
could have convinced everyone
he was the son of God we wouldn’t
have had a crucifixion. Instead
it would have been all peaceful
at the Last Supper. The Last Supper
not being the last, but instead
one in a long sequence of suppers.
Jesus getting fat as Elvis,
dying on the toilet after too many
cheeseburgers, too many fish,
too much wine, too much talk,
too much laughing and fishing,
too much fish, the fish growing,
getting bigger and bigger in each
story Jesus tells, where it’s a cod,
a shark, a whale, a fish never yet
created, a dinosaur, so that no one
in the bar is left believing a word
Jesus is saying. Not a word.
* * *
Ron Riekki’s books include U.P. and The Way North. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction have been published in New Ohio Review, Spillway, Verse Wisconsin, Moonshot Magazine, Cease, Cows, and many other journals.