Two More Poems, 18 December 2013 Copyright 2013, Doug Stuber

Left Knee Fix

Today you’re fourth in line for heat, needles, suction cups,
ultrasound. Chae Han and Hwae Eun clean every inch
of the clinic, including mop-down, tidy, dusting, folding
towels taken off a drying rack, then, having heated pads in hot
water, lay them out in patterns patients are familiar with. For
three hours’ treatment we pay five bucks. You’re the youngest,
at 55, and the only male, so the grandmothers speak loud Korean
hoping you’ll know that you walked right by one of them without
saying hello the other day, what an insult. It had to be that you
didn’t see her because you’ve learned most customs. Lift your
feet, here comes Chae Han’s wet mop. Just like the sound a
well-played cello makes, you’ve fallen in love with the movement
of the mop, as if Kramer’s bow, mesmerized and at peace, such
a treat in a life of overdrive then stall, publically alone, driven
insistence or wallowing, unable to move, just motivated enough
to pour a wine, light a candle, make chit-chat with yourself and
take in a DVD. There’s a high degree of humanity between long
work hours, given from employers to us, the continually ailed.
You obsess, while staring at research screens, about the color, her
nails will be this time, how many muscles the needles will pierce.

><><><><><><

John Abe Lillard

One day our lesson
ended early in
your upstairs
Park Avenue neighborhood
apartment. You asked

me to sit
to listen to Paul
and Art sing
like angels
on “The Boxer,” with trumpet

solo. Maybe your
hope was that one day
I’d be a
session player, or at least
enjoy music, as

a career
as classical brass
member was
out of reach
for someone as strung out on

everything
that came my way: all women,
sports, bass riffs,
art, falling in love
even with the way

small dogs bark,
or old wood drawers slide, and you,
last seen in
Geneva, you smiled,
I smiled, case in hand.