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Coming tomorrow:


  This is what is considered a family outing now,
with its blossom-scented Saturday rain
(always different from Tuesday or Thursday, say)
that has a way of going through windows, right into us.
A good cold sobering drench
filled with a kind of remorse
that we will never return
to those years of visiting the rocky paths
of the Royal Botanical Gardens
for its waves of candy tulips and hint of cherry bloom.

Instead we huddle into the van,
electronically umbilicalled
to the virtual lives we must peel away from
cds, portable dvd player, headphones, walkmans.
There's the routine squeeze, crunch, and fold
of the wheelchair and accessories.
The highway drive. The straight tunnel of asphalt.
The pit pat rain.
The wiper swish
which never fully clears the windshield -
only offers a temporary hole into the wolf grey world
before the drops merge into a blurry pond again.

And finally the hospital.
Jake suction-cupped,
an octopus clinging to his chest,
the wire tentacles
all leading to the heart monitor -
The Black Box -
recording the dark tunes of his heart,
ready to dance green grasshopper notes
onto the black computer screen.
We don't know what's ticking down there,
what he's composed in a full day
of wearing it strapped to him.
All there together on our family trip
just to watch the only nurse on staff on a Saturday
remove it, label it, and give Jake
his body back. The suction marks
he equates to Superman
with alien symbols
burnt into welts on his chest.

My mind is with the box
and the pouring of rain
that's inside of it.

from The Wind is a Tall Man Striding
Copyright © Jim Slominski