NO IDEA WHY, ABSOLUTELY . . .
No idea why I’d dream of a red
nineteen-seventy-nine Combi van
I’d bought without checking a single
solitary thing and when I woke,
I thought of the money I’d just spent
to purchase a new fan-dangled
touch-phone I couldn’t work or find
because I’d touched something,
I don’t know what, and it wouldn’t ring
when I did what I always did, like
dial that string of numbers from the landline
then follow the trail to find it tucked away
somewhere in a pocket in a shirt in the wardrobe
or laundry or beneath the front car seat.
No idea why I could not find
the keys to my far away country motel room
at midnight when all the while
they were right there in my shirt pocket,
oh sure, I patted and plunged my hand
into every nook and cranny in my jacket
and jeans before setting off to find someone
who’d prize the windows open or find an easier way
to let me in and I did, as I rounded the office and one hell
unexpected rally driver emerged from out of nowhere
in long black stockings and a gold-braided skirt, a puss
in fancy boots with a black eye and a white
bandaged hand all wrapped up in insulation tape.
No idea why I’d let him jump through the window
into my room to stand there facing me with the knife
and screwdriver in his hand as he took my
number and I took his, a total stranger, so
unlike me but his heart was warm and
that’s what mattered as we held one another
and he told me how he’d nearly died the day before
when his car slid off the road and he was inches
away from a tree trunk as he sat for hours trapped,
and I told him about my brother who was strapped
to thin hoses connected to his belly and nose and
bags alongside his bed to catch whatever ran off,
to catch what his cut bowel could no longer take.
I didn’t tell him about the needles taped to his hand
or how he pressed a button and cried out in pain
and neither did I tell him about how, for the first
time since he was five that I’d carefully washed him,
soaping his back and patting him dry as we joked
about his skinny legs and the credentials he’d have to
negotiate all by himself because it’s one thing
to wash a kid brother like that but not the man.
On the long drive home I didn’t see the sides of the road
and neither did I see the speed as I somehow disappeared
into country and western voices I love and the memories
of a cheeky freckle-faced boy with a gap in his front teeth.
I found the phone after reading Dostyevski’s Idiot.
It buzzed in the pocket of my shirt in the wardrobe.