On top of a hill, you stare and wince at your big cardinal-numbered blackface Timex.
I survey the VA hundred acres of lawn,
for I only have but five minutes to mourn.
Man, you’ve got five minutes. What else can you do?
Five damn minutes. Can kiss Sandy good-by,
can recite fifty Hail Marys,
can smoke a joint, or
can brush the last ten teeth.
You’re down to four and–
My Sandy’s dead.
My belief in God has gone with my squad.
My last ten teeth are really strong.
Four minutes pass, you push off the granite stone, stand, and salute.
Thorazine and Thunderbird are not fine with me.
With a script in my pocket, stuff that roach in my tin,
for homeless is not what I wanna to be.
Eight hours a day — Sarge you’ll be okay.
In a cloud of dust and
in the speed of light,
I fire-up the lawn ranger!
Don L. Robishaw lives in Lowell, MA. He ran educational programs for homeless shelters for thirteen years. He also worked for the VA Hospital in Leads, Massachusetts, and as a civilian for the US Army in South Korea. He has been a Sailor, Peace Corps Volunteer, bartender, world traveler, college professor, and circus roustabout. Today, he writes poetry and gritty tales about men and women from various backgrounds. His work has appeared in Open Journal of Arts and Letters, Flash Fiction Magazine, and O-Dark-Thirty. A new story is forthcoming in Crack-The-Spine’s next issue.
–Foreground art by Stephen H. Sheldon (U.S. Army Combat Art Program), via Wikimedia Commons
–Background photo by DML