shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Richard Widerkehr


Newsprint: Other Duties As Assigned

Wearing pale latex gloves, Ira dips a black metal comb
in his tin bowl of water, picks nits from Claudia's dull
hair still wet from the shower. In her hospital gown,
she sits in front of him on a blue plastic chair. The cops
found her unconscious on Holly Street, her sugar

levels over 800. Claudia doesn't think she's diabetic,
happens to be paranoid. A sign downstairs in the lobby:
We do the healing work of Jesus Christ. He's Jewish;
His plastic I.D. tag Behavioral Health
badges him in and out of double doors.

At least his sister no longer hears voices, no longer
sleeps with the moon in a cardboard box. His latex
gloves flesh-colored, his black comb, the flecks
and bits, half-sunken carapaces in clear water—
when he sets the comb down beside his bowl
on wet, gray newsprint, Claudia says, Thanks.