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For My Pal Dak Who Lost His Mind One Day and Never Found It

Posted to Poetry

For My Pal Dak Who Lost His Mind One Day and Never Found It

I had a dream the other night that Dak was all right
That his mind could hold in its
Twists and coils
Some semblance of order
That his ideas didn’t liquefy
Into a juice of thought and memory
That sprayed out of his mouth
Like water from a thumb-plugged garden hose

I got this call at four-thirty on some
Afternoon in late April
And there was Dak on the
Phone screaming about Agent Orange and
The Greyhound station
Which is where I assumed he was
And so I went to find him
Still on the telephone talking to me
With his arms whipping sharply
At the air
“Aw shit Kris
And remember that time when
We stole that wine from my girlfriend’s
Cellar—we sneaked in through
The garage door and sped off in your
Car just as her bedroom light clicked on”

I removed the phone from his hand
And pressed his mouth and ear into my neck
In that order swallowing whatever urge I had to
Collapse into a loose pile of hot tears and heavy breathing
Instead I answered him

“Yeah and we drank so much we were sick all the
Next day and our moms thought we had the flu
And that girl—Maggie—she dumped you the following week”

His fingers wadded up my T-shirt on my shoulders
His knees gave way to bending
We fell down on the cold floor square of the bus stop
Two cops were whispering
And pointing to us
Their free hands were
Patting their pistols like pets
I shook my head at the one who was staring at me
I pointed to the exit
He nodded
Approving my choice
Dak was a heavy carry out to the car

After two full houses
And the only straight flush
I have ever had
Dak was down to his underwear
We were fifteen
We wore scowls
And spiked wristbands
My nails were chewed until
They were bloody
Dak smoke Winston cigarettes
“C’mon Kris quit cheating what’s
The fun if I don’t even get a peek at your
We lay our hands down
He had two fours two threes
I boasted four queens and an ace
His boxers fell to the top of the pile
I grabbed the whole load and started running
He followed me out to the yard and across the street
To the church parking lot where a softball game was
Gathering at the nearby diamond
“Crap, Dak here”
I said tossing him his wardrobe
“No Kris, you won them fair an’ square”
He replied leaving the clothes on the ground
“I’ll win them back later—
Besides I cheated.”
With this Dak began to wrestle his pants over ankles that were
Running fast after me
I was tackled in his driveway
He sat on my chest making breathing
Near impossible
“If you weren’t my girl I would kill you”
We went into his house
Ate Popsicles
Watched MTV
I fell asleep on his lap

The ride to my house from the bus station was long
And my throat tightened with every word that
Choked from Dak’s lips
“You were pretty that summer, Kris—
And I never kissed you so some other
Dick did—Joey was it—asshole”
His hands pulled the sleeves of his shirt in
“HA! I have no arms—If you put it on vomit it dries up!”
The streetlights cut patterns into my dashboard
Into his face where his eyes scanned the horizon
He was far away
“That wine was damn good
We spilled it in your car—right here”
His hand flung toward a pink stain on my floorboard
As old and far away as the memory that caused it
“Kiss me sweet Kris—I’m dying tomorrow”
I shook my head
“You’re a day late buddy—there was a time I would have
As far as dying goes—not on my watch you don’t”
He fell asleep shortly after that
His head bobbed with the rumbling of my car down the dirt road
Of my home where I would call his parents as I always did
Each time they answered with less surprise