“Old paint on canvas, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent.”
— Lillian Hellman, Pentimento
Good son I was though often I wonder.
Father loved schnitzel, pepperoni with peppers pizza
and pastrami on rye plus pickles, so physician
to physician every Monday for lunch I provisioned
them to the TV tray next to his nursery bed.
The pies’ potassium poisoned his heart rhythm
and the meat’s sodium flooded his lungs —
which set off overwhelmingly uncomfortable
Cancer and blood clots and bleeding problems
plus toxic deli subdued Dad with enough diseases
to slay a metropolis. Once near the end he caught
my scheme red-handed. Soon afterwards I asked
the takes-one-to-know-one stoic control freak,
“When’ll you know to call it quits?” “Gerry, my dear,
that is all beyond me now. I’m becoming an infant again.
Actually your infant.” Rolling his translucent skin over
to change catheter and cull belly button lint, I looked
Pops in the eye, “Are you scared – and what happens
afterwards?” Face arranged in a pose of composure,
he deadpanned, “After my turkey button pops, Time’s up
— you decide when — surgery journal cover stories
and portraits will likely be my best legacy.” Then Daddy
added wryly, “Is that how you think you’ll remember?”
Gerard Sarnat has established and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised and been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Gerry’s work is published in over a hundred magazines. He is the author of three critically acclaimed collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), and 17s (2014). For Huffington Postreviews, reading dates, publications and more visit Gerard Sarnat.com. His books are available at select bookstores and on Amazon; his work appears in literary journals stocked by Barnes and Noble among other distributors. So far in 2015, Gerard’s features and honoraria have included Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, Avocet A Journal of Nature Poems, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway and Bywords. Gargoyle has accepted a piece for its fortieth anniversary issue due out in September 2016.
Read more of Gerard’s poetry in
DM 95 ~ BOUQUINISTES