Tuesday morning and I’m lifting
my shirt, lying on my back
in a dark room. I have trouble
with the lab technician’s accent,
ask her to repeat every question
as she spreads gel on my belly,
presses a wand here and there
taking pictures of my kidneys.
“Please, deep breath.” Holding it,
I am hoping for easy answers,
a pill, less sodium in my diet
to stop my calves from swelling
as I sit at my desk writing,
standing and yelling for more
at Los Lobos’ Sunday night show.
“No breathing please.” I think
about this morning’s email, news
that my oldest friend’s nephew
is dead. Thirty-eight years old,
he went to grammar school
with my baby brother. The police
suspect foul play and Kevin’s
driving all the way from Cleveland
with his second wife. The wake
will either be a crying, moaning
mess or a half empty room filled
with awkward guilty silence
and I wish I didn’t have to go.
“Turn on side, please. Face wall.”
After this, I’ll ride the G train
to the residence, fire the guy
I was training to help cut
my work load in half. I feel
bad. He’s twenty-six, a funny,
ambitious kid who needs money
for his ‘baby mama drama.’
But his attention span’s shorter
than a text message
and he kept borrowing cash
from the workers he supervised.
“Lie on back one time again.
Lower pants please.” I undo
my belt, slide my pants down
so the top of my pubic hair
shows. “Hold breath, please now.”
Younger, I’d have to concentrate,
try hard not to get an erection.
Now, I would be pleased to feel
my cock growing uncontrollably.
I watch the technician carefully
as she ignores me, does her job.
I imagine her hair let loose
from her bun, the lab coat falling
to the floor. But no, she’s not
the kind of woman I can picture
working in a Chinatown spa
leading me to the back room.
“Relax. All done, please.” I leave
knowing I will have to wait
patiently as possible until next
Tuesday, 12:45, for my doctor
to interpret the results, maybe
look me in the eye and deliver
news I’d never want to hear
or the chance of a happy ending.
Originally published in Newtown Literary Review
Tony Gloeegler is a life-long resident of New York City and has managed group homes for the mentally challenged in Brooklyn for over 35 years. His work has appeared in Rattle, Poet Lore, Chiron Review, New Ohio Review, Spillway, Nerve Cowboy and Juked. His full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015). NYQ Books recently released What Kind Of Man June 2020.