Small Talk

a poem

Jay Sizemore

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Photo by ahmad kanbar on Unsplash

Small talk

So it’s nearly October, and you’ve just turned 44.
Suddenly, your dog is allergic to everything,
his skin flashing bright pink after every trip outdoors,
and you understand fear and empathy
in surprisingly new ways.

Last summer, your wife spent nine thousand dollars
on landscaping. This summer, the moles returned,
ruining the yard with their mounds
of freshly excavated dirt, their tunnels
intricately navigating the subterranean expanse

of the underground. Searching for food,
worms, grubs, slugs.
There’s no escaping the frustration,
that sense of waste, of time
slipping ever onward, like a rope
coated in grease.

You’re scheduled for an ultrasound next month.
Checking your bladder and your prostate
for abnormalities, while the text messages roll in
updating you on others’ progress
with their chemotherapy, their recovery,
their steady decline into the recesses.

Isn’t it strange how reality repeats itself,
like a recording set on a loop,
or a dementia patient who keeps asking
to read the novel he just finished
and placed back on the shelf?

It makes you wonder if you are the patient,
or just another character in the book.

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Jay Sizemore

Provocative truth teller, author of APNEA & Ignore the Dead. Cat dad. Dog dad. Husband. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at: Jaysizemore.com.