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Trick Question
[Portage, January 14, 2010]

Hump-days at Hardings, inmates
Drift over from Bedlam in senior services
Buses, shuffle through the aisles, oogling
Kim chi and dog food, feeling up the
Bread and fruit, pupils dilated. Not born crazy,
Made that way by life. 

Sockless in January, a man with gray Chia Pet
Hair has purple gumballs all over his foot-wide
Calves, swellings upon swellings, veins
Prominent as Roman aquaducts, his breath
Coming in intermittent sharp snorts like
Pine pitch cracking at fifty below in deep winter. 

I found a card on the bulletin board, and old woman
Transfixed by it. It read, “If you died tonight
Would you be in Heaven or Hell?” I guessed
She was thinking she was already in the latter,
But it might be a trick question;
By the looks of her, she’s surely done Hell here. 

I wonder if inside-the-Beltway wonks and
Politicians have ever been in low-end
Grock shops on a weekly senior day. Someone wrote
On the bulletin board card, “Neither, fool,
you’d just be dead.”  Beneath that I added,
in red, “Like now. Amen.”

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