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Christmas Eve in TrailervilleTo Terrance Leightner's next piece

how was your day?

6 a.m.
kid up and pushing on shoulder
“i’m hungry, i’m hungry;”
dogs, awakened, clatter noisily on
bedroom linoleum, anxious to pee;
cat, disturbed, chokes up hairball in corner
loses more hair around neck
because of nerves.
6:10 a.m.
wife, angry, tosses fitfully
then sits up, lights cigarette, blows first
smoke of the day in my face
“goddammit, i just can’t take this anymore”
she snaps;
i know what she means.
6:30 a.m.
i lay in bed, owl-eyed,
blinking surprisedly at the sun;
this was supposed to be my
day to sleep in.
6:31 a.m.
sit up, cringe in pain, realize kidneys
still aching, cock still burning from some
odd, week-old malady.
6:45 a.m. 
mentally piqued at wife, i pick a 
fight over volatile, yet unrelated topic
(her hyper-extended computer use).
we resolve not to speak to one another 
7 a.m.
i lay back down, praying kidneys will simply
7:31 a.m.
wife relays message that she has scheduled
a doctor’s appointment for me at
9:30 a.m.
SHIT!  with the commute that gives me
one-half hour to shower and shave
i am forced to swing out of the coffin
forced to plod pear-like with
Burger king belly,
to reconcile with my image in the bathroom mirror;
i am looking more like Honore de Balzac
every day.
9:30 a.m.
at doctor’s office
10:30 a.m.
at doctor’s office
11:00 a.m.
must piss
11:15 a.m.
lab technician:  “i need your piss.”
“i am a fucking idiot,” i tell him.  “i just pissed.
i must not want to get better!”
i piss a thimbleful.  “that is enough,” he says.
bullshit, i think.  why does the cup say
“patient MUST fill to three-quarter mark”?
11:20 a.m.
in patient cubicle
11:45 a.m.
still in patient cubicle;
have read all of shock-value cancer posters;
swear forever off of smoking and second-hand smoke;
resolve to force wife to quit.
doctor is done with cigarette break,
decides to join patient.
wheels in laptop on elevated scooter:
diagnosis and data-base storage
gone hi-tech.
11:46-11:54 a.m.
blah, blah, blah, history, symptoms, blah.
11:55 a.m.
urinalysis inconclusive.
urinary tract discomfort problematic, must do anal probe
to rule out prostate inflammation.
“Jumping up and down Jesus, Doc!  is that
really necessary?”
“up on the bench on all fours, sway the back,
arch the buttocks prominently.”
do i get the reach-around?
he’s in and out.
no enlargement, no pain.  just mutual
“any discharge from the penis?” he asks.
“no,” i say, “but feels like the clap
i had in college.”
“we’ll need to do a urethral swab.”
“Jumping up and down, Doc!  why not a root canal
while we’re at it?”
12:02 p.m.
giant cotton swab stuck halfway up my dick.
12:04-12:06 p.m.
blah, blah, sheepish goodbyes.
12:15 p.m.
in truck, light cigarette, turn up Judas Priest
“I’m your turbo lover!  Tell me there’s no other!”
1:15 p.m.
back in Trailerville.
riding emotional fix of “you’ve come to us, paid
your ten dollar co-pay, you are a strapping physical specimen,
there is nothing overtly wrong, go home.”
kidneys still hurt, dick still burning
but doctor’s blithe optimism has sparked
emotional healing.
mind over matter.
must just be lower back strain.  the dick?
i had been jacking a lot lately....
1:16-2:16 p.m.
hook garbage trailer up to truck.
load kid, dogs, wife in truck.
stop at 7-11 to get wife cigarettes.
kid spills entire pop in truck.
dogs further distrust kid.
stop at garage sale on way to dump.
wife wants $250 Pomeranian pup.
i just stare at her with owl eyes.
at dump, wife becomes infuriated by
swirling dust and garbage; i dare to
call her a “prima donna.”
she sits in truck, smokes incessantly,
re-initiates silent treatment as kid and i
stop at wildlife refuge, old site of
Camp Adair.  we look at ring-necked pheasants
and World War II memorials.
i mourn the casualties of the 104th infantry division
at Cherbourg.
the Timberwolves.
2:17 p.m.
wife storms into house.
i maneuver garbage trailer back behind shed.
i get out lawn mower, mow lawn.
kidneys ache, dick burns.
i sweat profusely.
2:35 p.m.
Mexican neighbor limps mini-van into his driveway.
Astro is making a horrible clattering noise.
i help Jose put van up on ramps.
“i see you fight lass night,” Jose says.  “Very good.”
i nod and smile, show him the broken ring finger 
on my right hand.
it is only the second time i have ever spoken to Jose.
i offer to let him take my car to work
the next day;
he accepts.
2:50 p.m.
wife storms out of house, informs me
our car up top
has been egged, that the driver’s side window
is broken out.
3:15 p.m.
i have the door panel off of
wife’s car, am trying to extract
glass shards.
egg is baked to a fine sheen
in various places.
a black Nissan pulls up.
it is my coaching buddy.
he is trying to get me to
move to Phoenix, Arizona to help
resurrect an ailing 2A football program.
it is his dream, not mine.
he speaks in the preterite, as if everything
“we” will do has already happened, been determined.
he should have been a Calvinist.
or a used-car salesman.
6:15 p.m.
because he is still talking
9:15 p.m.
and he is still talking.
the wife had had enough hours ago and is
out on a cigarette run.
the kid is on the living room floor, bored asleep.
the dogs look around with owl eyes.
if i could get a word in edgewise i would
simply tell my buddy “no.”
but he glows when he talks about football;
his eyes shine and his body quivers
like a kid about to get laid.
why rain on that happiness?
so i take out a pen and pretend
to be taking notes, to be raptly involved
in his grand scheme to run a disguised cover two
and a modified split-back Willamette fly-sweep,
when actually i am outlining the parameters 
of this poem,
when actually i am thinking about
fucking my wife,
when actually my kidneys ache and my dick burns
and the broken finger on my right hand throbs.
i look at the dogs--
they still have owl eyes;
much to my amusement, i see 
the kid is drooling a bright silver string of goo
on my cold, bare feet.

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