They’re in the kitchen,
drinking coffee, the kids,
in their fifties now,
figuring out what to do
about Dad who’s
in the parlor listening,
counting all the marbles
they think he’s lost.
The six of them flew in
to bury mother.
They won’t go back
until they figure out
what to do about Dad.
At the funeral they saw
Father Kelly kiss Dad’s
wedding ring, the one
he’s worn for 60 years.
Father Kelly bowed
over the wheelchair
as if Dad were pope
and told him he’d be over
Tuesday night as usual
for checkers and a beer.
Best two out of three
goes to heaven first.
Pharmacist Who Can’t Count
Did you hear about the pharmacist
who got hit in the head with a hockey puck
coaching his son’s team on weekends?
This terrible accident left him unable
to count the pills he charges too much for
because Big Pharma keeps raising prices
to keep up with Medicare and he has
to make a profit so he charges
whopping sums that go higher
every week without relief but now
he can’t count any pills to sell until he
memorizes his numbers all over again,
at least from one to three, so he can be
mimic Lawrence Welk, the late bandleader
and favorite of his older customers.
They love to hear him count like Welk.
His wife, Olga, believes she can help
him learn to count again with recipes
she brought in a gunny sack from Europe.
She makes her mother's sour cabbage soup
and prune sheet cake that Gypsies love
in Bucharest and has her husband
down two big bowls a night followed
by a chunk of prune cake, awful stuff.
It’s been two months now but he’s still
a pharmacist who can’t count although he
burps with the rhythm of Lawrence Welk.
He hopes to find relief by patronizing
another pharmacist who will charge him
up the wazoo, that much he knows.
He owns Town Caricature,
a small paper catering
to folks who need help.
The paper is kind to all
who need help but not
folks who appear to have
everything, earned or not
by hard work, fraud, luck
or sometimes inheritance.
Some donate to charity
not because they want to help
people in need but simply
to lower their taxes, a bane
they want to avoid as much
as those who shirk work will
avoid any work if possible.
This is the DNA of both groups.
Some folks never have enough
and others simply hate work.
If one has a life, he’s neither.
The owner of the paper
has never made a profit
publishing the tabloid.
He gives it away, loses
money on purpose.
He inherited millions
from the sale of his
father’s steel mills
and needs a write-off
to save on taxes.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.