Some things you don’t forget.
Alas, I fail to recall the names of friends,
from time to mortifying time.
Likewise, I neglect to take my meds,
so use the mnemonic of turning the bottles
upside down after I pop a capsule,
then right-side up, a few hours later.
What I mean is that childhood accident
that almost made me a legend
among my friends, for dying young,
and an object lesson for their parents
to repeat over and over, loudly:
“Don’t run into glass doors!”
For decades, I hadn’t thought
of that August morning that started golden,
and ended up a geyser of me.
But for the past few years, I’ll brush
the toad-sized scar on my wrist
or see a shattered bottle, or TV violence,
or almost anything,
and I’m eleven again, blood a burst main,
my buddies frozen, my mother screaming
to haul me to the doctor around the block,
his wife-receptionist loudly trying to bar me
from smearing blood on the waiting room carpet,
until Dr. Levine shoved her aside and fulfilled
his Hippocratic duty of saving my life.
Why has that memory returned now,
I keep asking myself. All I can think: maybe
a reminder I’ve used up most of the years
Time wants me to pay back.
Robert Cooperman’s latest collection is GO PLAY OUTSIDE (Apprentice House). Forthcoming from Kelsay Books is A NIGHTMARE ON HORSEBACK.