was the quickened reply
but I saw him step back and close his mouth
as if exposed to a nervous nerve agent.
and I showed him the pictures online.
He shook his head no involuntarily,
finally snapped, "If you're so worried,
go to the emergency room."
The sleepless night had twisted into morning
and I knew that any friend I asked
would be caught at an importune time.
My left foot was heavy and alien
and alive inside my expensive shoe.
The yellow orb beyond the rooftops
and skies scorned down on me
and on all the graves ever made
and unmade throughout history.
Languid expressions in the workplace,
too much lipstick to my right,
brittle hair gel passing by,
the swoosh of the suddenly loud
central air conditioning system,
jokes are what these people tell one another.
They listen attentively to lackluster wit,
stories about city restaurants
and the latest electronic gadgets.
The ladies preen and twirl about
in their new skirt fabrics and jewelry.
The men grunt and glance at wall calendars
full of exotic sports automobiles.
They all share magazines and coffee machines.
I was asked about my weekend and my tie
but I was thinking about War of the Worlds,
about Ebola, how the virus enters the body surreptitiously,
how they didn't know to drain the swollen pustules
from the lymph nodes, from the neck, armpits, Pandemia.
All I could see were clownish animatrons
with their oversized mugs covering smug
and well-groomed mannequin faces.
Seeking solitude, I was caught in the bathroom
the fifth instance I examined the tip of my toe.
"Blood blister," I heard immediately again,
this enforced sharing of the damn spot.
Yes, Macbeth came to mind,
Ulysses S. Grant and his induced halitosis.
"It'll get taken care of this week,"
a muffled ancient echo,
hastily slipping on the canopic shoe.
"I've got a hacksaw in the car,"
and he laughed, he barked like a seal,
which made me smile.
I smiled terribly at the viscous darting
of his faraway eyes. The water on the floor,
paper towels overflow in the trash,
the middle urinal flushes by itself,