Pat Walleck’s Leg
between grasshopper and trombone,
shoved him down the long steel stairs.
where minnows nibbled our hair,
our bench a submerged upriver elm.
and menthol cigarettes in Ziploc.
Fake leg unstrapped from stump,
he could have leapt in head first,
and swam. But would not. He died
at twenty-eight. 010e003>I avoided him at the end.010e003>
When his leukemia came yawning
out of hibernation, 010e004>I made my clumsy
pilgrimage010e004> to the shrine of St. Roch
on St. Roch Street, surrendered my prize
to the room where other hopers had left
braces, trusses, videotaped mastectomies,
plaster casts of hands feet elbows faces.
Pat’s leg made the shrine a leg show
for an audience of unblinking Jesus
and St. Lucy’s eyes on a platter.
which this can’t be, he’d be left high
on the riverbank watching us
across the slow water. Back then he knew
more than we could fool ourselves about. Let alone now.