Wives and Girl Friends
A good reason to get married,
Tim told me before he died,
is you need a driver to take you
home from a colonoscopy.
When cancer runs in the family
and three relatives have had it
colonoscopies become frequent.
You get used to drinking the potion
the day before the exam but
depending on the test results
you may get the same day,
driving yourself home isn't
the wisest thing to do
no matter how long you may live.
A wife will take you home, Tim said.
A girlfriend might do it once
but then she will find someone else.
Tim had reasons to know.
A doctor for decades,
he provides services
not available nearby.
Clients drive miles
from farms and towns
seeking his care.
He is always busy,
assisted by two nurses
six days a week.
He loves animals
and feeds tramp dogs
and feral cats daily
in the open field
behind his office.
If he sees a bug
in his office
while he carries it outside.
Only then does he return
and relieve another client
of her fetus.
Even as a child
Charles couldn’t forgive other children
not for something they had done
but rather for who they were.
They were inferior and couldn’t help it,
his parents both agreed.
Charles couldn’t stand any of them.
This continued his entire life.
Charles almost married a woman
he had hired only to discover later
she wasn’t perfect, no better than
the little people he had hired to
wrap and mail thousands of shirts
manufactured in Bangladesh.
He sold the company at 80
and retired a multimillionaire.
Charles never liked himself either
but he had fewer flaws, he thought,
than anyone he had ever met.
Now in old age he trolls the halls
of Sunset Manor in an electric wheelchair
other residents on canes and walkers
call his tank, making sharp turns while
looking for someone he might like.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.