Taking my wife to her pre-natal appointment this morning
I wonder what it would be like if I weren’t me
but were Nick Cave instead.
“How are you today?” the doctor will ask my wife.
“Good,” my wife will say.
“And how are you?” the doctor will ask me
and I’ll say, “Doctor there’s death out on the plains,
and in the cities are men and women walking who are thinner than shadows,
their souls are lost like flies.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” the doctor will say
as he turns back to my wife, rubs jelly on her stomach,
then places the sensor on the left side
to listen for the baby’s heartbeat.
“Sounds good,” he’ll say.
I’ll brush my pitch black hair away
from my eyes
and stand straight and tall
like the devil’s pitchfork.
“Doctor,” I’ll say, “I am a shell of a man
in this world, which is not of me,
which hovers above me like a bird of prey
at the end of time. Yet I, alone,
am the one who will not abandon you.”
“Thanks,” he’ll answer.
“Doctor, I once knew a woman who got snake eyes
every time she rolled the dice
down on the bayou.
Every time she picked them up it was
Pow Pow POW!”
“That’s a great story, Nick. It’ll make a great motherfucking song,”
he’ll say—that is, if he’s one of those doctors who uses
the word “motherfucker” with his patients
(there aren’t many, and for that I blame society).
Later, when we’re home, my wife will say,
“Nick, could you pick up some pre-natal vitamins at the store?
I just noticed that I’m all out.”
“Sure, babe,” I’ll say,
and I’ll step out of the house wearing the stubble
on my cheeks, black jeans
and a pink Hello Kitty tee shirt,
and I’ll drive down to the store in a ’64 Cadillac convertible,
staring down everyone who looks my way
as I wait for the light to change.
“Grinderman,” read by the author at the 2012 Split This Rock poetry festival:
Photo by Jose Padua