God’s Gift by Tony Gloeggler

God’s Gift

It’s the kind of day that feels like a gift
from God. An early April morning
with temperatures already flirting
with sixty degrees. Bright blue skies,
a few wispy clouds and a whisper
of breeze lifting the short skirts
of women that make you want to sing
hymns of praise. One of those days
you can’t resist, a day that forces you
to cut class or call out from work
so you can spread a newspaper
across a table at the corner café.
Waiting for pancakes, sunny
side eggs, you turn to sports,
believe all the Yankee veterans
will have one more injury free year
and their prize prospect will exceed
every bit of hype. Later, you’ll walk
to the schoolyard, get picked for a three
on three. You are totally unstoppable
and your squad streaks to a string
of six straight wins. You call Suzanne
who says she can get away, meet you
by Prospect Park. You stroll along
holding hands, stop for soft serve
ice cream with sprinkles and lick
the slow drippings off of each other’s
fingers. spread a blanket behind a bunch
of bushes and make out. Coming up
for air, she promises to leave her husband.

 

But no, today you are waiting for the late
as always Access-A-Ride to drive you
to dialysis. You’ll sit in the waiting room,
listen for your mispronounced name
to come through the speakers. You’ll lie
back while the machine removes liquid,
filters your blood for three hours as you try
to fall asleep, but can’t. You feel colder
and colder and closer to cramping
as you watch the clock creep forward,
the orderlies lift the one-legged woman
into her wheelchair. Home, you fix a bland,
tasteless lunch, drink a few sips of water,
limp to your bedroom and let your clothes
drop down to the floor. You nap restlessly,
dream of a smiling Suzanne, happily married,
living in Austin with two kids. You wake up
with a splitting headache in time to catch
the Yankee game. Five games under 500,
their starting pitcher gives up a first inning,
two out, three run homer and they helplessly
keep leaving runners on base as the game
grinds on. Between pitches, you remind
yourself that dialysis is keeping you alive,
and that you are happy not to be dead yet
as you pray for one full night of sleep.

Tony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of New York City and has managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. His work has appeared in Rattle, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, New Ohio Review, San Pedro River Review, and Main Street Rag. His full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015), and What Kind Of Man (NYG Books 2018).