My mother was an acupuncturist, her practice near the overpass
closest to your coatrack, a needle coterie the day I learned the pitch
equivalents for disease. I say this queueing the CD of a string quartet,
the violist with a Stradivari and guesthouse face. He never said heartthrob
though I love it when a T de-camouflages an H, his hemophilia a bathtub’s
E-flat, the weekend garrisoned in shale. G-sharp ameliorating my malleus
during the comic-book dealer’s demise, full-page fumes bound by ink
older than office rot, his aneurism intoned. The hum a half-step higher
after the chocolatier’s stroke, samplers strewn like candied Morse,
the stretcher navigating a parquet of petit fours. D-flat, staring at
my father’s dresser and stevedore is all I think, the jacuzzi
harboring arrhythmia, sine waves emblazoning his robe.
B, driving to your house, handcuffs baked into a pineapple
upside down cake, your bedsores a purgatory for cored fruit.
I didn’t know which of us infirmity’s wheelhouse had pinged
until I heard the fourth track of Donovan’s Greatest Hits,
its harmonica the heart attack I hoped to avoid. Scalar
aorta, a CAT scan dolloping. Through me, a Camerata
of disease. Listen, the least I’ve done.
Jon Riccio is a PhD candidate and composition instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. His work appears in apt, Booth, Cleaver, Hawai’i Review, Jazz Cigarette, Steel Toe Review, and Visitant, among others. He received his MFA from the University of Arizona.