Robert Nied - 2
I didn’t break my collar bone on the half-pipe at Stowe
I didn’t unbalance my electrolytes during an open ocean swim
I didn’t sustain a knife wound defeating a mugger on State Street
I burned my esophagus eating a Tater Tot
I know what you are thinking…
Aren’t you the guy who complains about the lack of fine dining in Upstate, NY?
Don’t you grow cilantro on the window sill because your salsa demands it?
Yes, a Tater Tot. Seduced by the siren call of both mono and diglycerides
I watch the triage nurse prioritize the injured and sick -
The chain saw logger with the blood stained Carhart
The car wreck survivor with an airbag bruise the size of a dodge ball
The asthmatic toddler with a worried dad
“Just have a seat, we’ll call you soon” or in an hour, or six
Take your place next to intoxicated dirtbiker with two broken pinkies
Slurring the story of the trees that “didn’t look that close together”
You can chat with the “bet you can’t jump off the car port” teenager, the light bulb eater and the auto erotic experimenter.
Maybe you can start a card game
with the home renovator in flip flops,
the cactus plant mover
or the orange haired crafter with the crazy glue cap affixed to her eyebrow
Just before 1 AM the young resident said that I would be fine
“drink plenty of water and take Tylenol”
But not before asking the existential question:
“Why didn’t you just wait until it cooled off?”
Indignant, I said because I am adventurer who seizes the moment
Why defer, why delay?
You never know when your car could stall on the train tracks
Or a 6.5 quake could pit your skull against the falling façade of a convenience store
I burned my esophagus with a Tater Tot because I am alive!
It was the summer of the ocean
Alone in the water at daybreak, hiding in the soft fog
No one knew I was there.
I was pushed by the riptide of youth – music, freedom, energy
but was never carried far enough away to forget the person I loved more than anyone
and wished, beyond reason, that she was still there.
I heard the hiss and felt the shower of warm water
As a young whale rose then gently slipped away, just feet from my finger tips
I’m not sure if she knew I was there.
On a warm September afternoon I brushed the grains of sand from a soft naked breast
and followed the tan line like the horizon as I tasted her salty skin.
She said she was glad I was there.
When winter came I visited an old friend who, like me, couldn’t go home.
We shared oranges and tea in a town I didn’t know.
I was glad I was there.